By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A new deck overlooking the banks of Levings Lake will give park-goers a place to relax, picnic or watch the action at West Rock Wake Park.
Members of the Rockford Area Association of Realtors put some of the finishing touches on the project Wednesday by planting a pair of trees near the park’s entrance at 1420 Pierpont Ave.
The Realtors provided a $5,000 grant to help cover the cost of building the composite wood deck, which replaces picnic benches that rested in a sandy bank of the lake that had once served as a beach.
“It was a vacant, empty space that wasn’t really accessible to everyone in the community, and now it is for everyone to enjoy,” said Neeley Erickson, government affairs director for Illinois Realtors.
The $130,000 project was primarily funded by the Rockford Park District and Winnebago County. The National Association of Realtors provided a $4,500 placemaking grant to Rockford Area Realtors, which contributed an additional $500.
“Parks and recreation are what individuals, homeowners are looking for,” Erickson said. “The closer that you live to a park increases the value of your home, but also it’s just pride in your community.”
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The accessible plaza deck features shade sails and electrical lighting. Additional plants and landscaping will be placed around the deck.
“We know our amazing parks are a big selling feature for our region,” said Conor Brown, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors. “Continued investment like this helps nearby neighborhoods increase in value.”
Levings Park is home to West Rock Wake Park, a cable wakeboard facility with floating features that allows you to ride without a boat. It also hosts the Sounds of Summer Live concerts and talent show in June, July and August.