Rum Creek Mill Pond

Rockford’s best-kept winter secret revealed

December 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Answering an often-asked community request for an outdoors winter ice-skating rink, the Rockford Lions have again stepped to the plate. Squire readers will recall that in past years the City of Rockford flooded an area behind the Community Cabin, providing a place for children of all ages to ice-skate during the winter months. That practice was abandoned several years ago, because it became prohibitively expensive to maintain and, oftentimes yearly, replace the rink’s liner. The liner that was placed on the ground and banked by snow was necessary to prevent water absorption into the ground while flooding. Old timers in the community fondly remember days of yore when the frozen Rum Creek Mill Pond served as the neighborhood skating rink. Every winter it became a popular recreational gathering spot for hundreds of Rockford families. In ensuing years, the banks of the pond became inaccessible, being ringed by overgrown underbrush and fallen and dead trees. Also, in certain years of drought, the pond did not contain enough water to support a decent skating surface. Eventually the pond was abandoned as a skating rink and relegated to the history of the “good ol’ days.”             Enter the Rockford Lions, who embrace the club’s common dedication to unselfish service without regard to recognition.             Rockford Lion Bob Winegar well remembers the good times that were had on the Mill Pond skating pond and posed the question to the club, “Why can’t we recreate the skating rink on a bigger and grander scale than ever before?” Indeed, they have done just that.             In the fall of 2009, Winegar and his good friend Bernie Armstrong, in particular, along with other Lions, spent countless hours clearing the banks and removing the fallen trees, resulting in a skating surface of approximately one acre. It was available for limited use after Christmas of last year and is somewhat the best-kept secret in town.             This winter season, it gets even better. The City of Rockford Public Service Department has provided the use of a gasoline-powered pump to draw water from the adjacent Rum Creek to resurface the pond as needed, resulting in a skating surface, as Winegar says, “As smooth as a baby’s behind.” When your reporters […]