Life in the Parks
Welcome to the Parks – a dynamic region comprised of the communities of Loves Park and Machesney Park. The Parks sit just north of Rockford, and, as part of this bustling metropolitan area, both communities continue to see growth and development. Together, Loves Park and Machesney Park host around 47,500 residents and hundreds of businesses – all of which take pleasure in the area’s unmatched amenities. From excellent schools and exciting culture to well-maintained parks and access to outstanding medical care, the Parks affords a high quality of life ideal for families, young professionals, retirees and businesses. Come discover for yourself the benefits to life in the Parks.
Location & Transportation
The City of Loves Park and the Village of Machesney Park are ideally positioned along the scenic Rock River, within northern Illinois’ Winnebago County. Both communities are located just minutes north of Rockford via IL Route 251. IL Route 2 runs north-south along the area’s western border, and U.S. 20 (to the south) and I-90/I-39/U.S. 51 (to the east) are reachable in less than five miles from the heart of Loves Park.
Commuters are served by the Rockford Mass Transit District’s North 2nd Street route, which provides a link to the Route 173 corridor. Coach USA offers express service to O’Hare and Midway airports, as well as regular service to Downtown Chicago, South Beloit, Madison, WI, and Janesville, WI, from the Van Galder Bus Station in Rockford. Additionally, the Parks area is approximately 10 miles north of Chicago-Rockford International Airport (RFD), a facility providing daily nonstop flights to several destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Dominican Republic. RFD is also a major cargo airport in the Midwest and is home to UPS’s second-largest domestic air hub sorting facility.
Parks & Recreation
The Parks is filled with great opportunities to enjoy recreation. With resources like the Rockford Park District, Harlem Community Center, Carlson Boys & Girls Club and Northeast Family YMCA, residents are furnished with a wide range of amenity-filled parks and rec facilities, as well as a long list of year-round recreational programming for all ages. Popular sites operated by these entities include the 32-acre Sports Complex (home to Project Playworks interactive playground and Skateworks), the Carlson Ice Arena & Sapora Playworld, the 124-acre Sportscore Two complex and several golf courses.
The area also hosts the beautiful Rock Cut State Park, a more than 3,000-acre park highlighted by two lakes – Pierce and Olson – which provide an ideal retreat for fishers, swimmers, boaters and, in the winter months, ice fishers and ice skaters. Further recreational offerings presented at Rock Cut State Park include trails for hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and a campground with 210 Class A Premium sites, 60 Class B/S Premium sites and a primitive cabin.
The Parks is home to a variety of exciting attractions, ranging from professional sports and an amusement park to much-anticipated community events – and with Rockford just next door, the directory of things to do is greatly expanded with the city’s vibrant night life, quality museums, performing arts venues and more.
For the sports enthusiast, Loves Park hosts Road Ranger Stadium – home to the RiverHawks, Rockford’s professional baseball team. The city is also the site of Rockford Speedway, a fast-paced attraction with notable events like the “world famous” trailer races, monster truck rallies, as well as concerts, car shows, swap meets and more. In addition, Rockford is home to the IceHogs hockey team, an affiliate of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, who play their regular season at the downtown BMO Harris Bank Center (formerly the Rockford MetroCentre).
Family fun is had at Loves Park’s Volcano Falls Adventure Park, a seasonal destination featuring two mini-golf courses, three go-cart tracks, laser tag, batting and soccer cages, an arcade and a snack bar.
And, if you’re in town over Memorial Day weekend, make sure not to miss the Young at Heart Festival. This family oriented event welcomes in the summer season with carnival rides, music, food, contests, a parade and a kids fishing derby. YAH is recognized among the largest four-day festivals in the region, drawing thousands of visitors each year to the Loves Park City Hall Grounds.
One doesn’t have to leave the Parks in order to find what they’re looking for. Both Loves Park and Machesney Park host numerous retailers offering virtually everything under the sun. Top shopping destinations include MainStreet Machesney (the village’s original downtown) and the Gateway District along IL 173, which features a collection of big-box retailers, locally owned boutiques, professional service firms and restaurants. Additional areas with a commercial concentration include Riverside Boulevard, North 2nd Street, Alpine Road, Forest Hills Road, Harlem Road and Windsor Road. It is along these local thoroughfares that one will discover everything from automotive parts to variety stores, antique to stained glass shops, as well as a fine selection of grocery, home improvement and discount stores.
Encouraging lifelong learning among students is important to residents of the Parks area. Fortunately, the community is well-served by several top-notch public school districts, as well as numerous private and parochial institutions, daycare/preschool centers and quality colleges and universities.
The majority of Loves Park and Machesney Park students (approximately 8,000 total) are enrolled through Harlem School District 122. The district is comprised of one two-campus high school, one middle school, eight elementary schools and one early learning center. Other districts serving small portions of the Parks include Belvidere Community Unit School District, Rockford Public Schools, Hononegah Community High School District and Kinnikinnick School District.
Within 10 minutes of the Parks, college-bound students and adult learners have access to several outstanding institutions of higher learning. Rock Valley College is the main two-year community college serving the region, offering students more than 100 transfer, career and certificate programs. Rockford College, a private, independent college, provides more than 80 majors, minors and programs, along with a return-to-college program, masters programs and community education options. The area also hosts regional centers of well-known universities, including Northern Illinois University-Rockford, the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford and Upper Iowa University-Rockford Center, which currently offers bachelor’s of science degrees in a dozen majors. In addition to these options are a variety of vocational schools, including Rockford Career College, a two-year college with programs in business administration/accounting, information technology, paralegal studies and health occupations.
Thanks to its position within the Rockford metropolitan area, the Parks area has ready access to numerous healthcare providers. From private physician practices and specialty clinics to well-equipped hospitals, residents of Loves Park and Machesney Park are furnished with all the resources needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The newest addition to the local medical community is Crusader Community Health Loves Park – a brand-new primary health clinic that opened its doors in September 2011. The opening of this clinic has had a great impact on the local community, enhancing patient access to quality primary care services, such as family practice, pediatrics, women’s health, dental, optical and various specialty services.
For needs that go beyond primary care, the Parks residents utilize the services, facilities and programs of several Rockford-based hospitals. The closest campus is Rockford Memorial Hospital, a 396-bed hospital housing the Children’s Medical Center, complete with the area’s sole Pediatric ICU and Level III Neonatal ICU; the Heart and Vascular Center; the Brain and Spine Center and a Level I Emergency/Trauma Services Department. Also close-by are SwedishAmerican Hospital, a 333-bed teaching hospital boasting an exclusive affiliation with UW Health, and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. This award-winning, 254-bed regional hospital features a Level I Trauma Center, the accredited Center for Cancer Care, the Illinois Neurological Institute (a designated Primary Stroke Center) and many other notable facilities. In addition to the main hospital campus, OSF Saint Anthony operates the OSF Center for Health-Rock Cut in Loves Park. This conveniently located facility offers ambulatory, primary care and home care services.