Ken-Rock Exec Says New Site ‘Checks Every Box’
The Ken-Rock Community Center of Rockford is moving to a new location. For the last 40 years, the building on 11th Street has been regarded as a safe and reliable source of recreational, social and educational opportunities for thousands of people of all ages. Ken-Rock’s executive director John Guth said those programs will continue at the new location. He acknowledged that it’s hard to leave the neighborhood, but it’s necessary.
Guth said, “The building on 11th Street is old. It’s cold. It leaks. It’s not user-friendly and there’s not a lot of green space.”
He also said the new location at 625 Adams Street “checks every box that we could possibly imagine in a community center setting.” He continued, “We will move in and not miss a beat. It has accessible parking, accessible doors, and an elevator. We should be able to meet everybody’s needs, one way or another.”
The new facility will include a coffee caddy, community-use computers, and a chess board. Guth said, “I want people to feel at ease here.”
It will have a conference room, a golf simulator for adults, and a gymnasium. Guth said, “The gym is not full-size, but we just need it for kids to play after school.”
The new building will have a bowling alley. If the kids want to go outside, Beattie Playground is located across the street.
Guth is optimistic about community involvement. He said he looks forward to building trust with the new neighbors. “I hope they embrace us as much as we are going to embrace them.”
As for the people who live in close proximity to 11th Street, Guth hopes they come to the new neighborhood. He said, “We’re only three miles away. It’s not like we’ve moved to the other side of town. It only takes me seven minutes to get from that building to this building.”
He continued, “I want the kids to come down here — again — and find ownership in being here.”
Guth calls Ken-Rock a “safe zone.” He said regardless of where it’s located, “It’s one of those places where you have an opportunity to be a part of something. You have an opportunity to appreciate something.”
He said, “I’ve seen kids that have come through our programs. They’ve been a little rough around the edges, but over the course of the years, they round out and then they bring their children back. It’s been gratifying to see them come back and have their children experience the same things they experienced.”
The new location on Adams Street will open in May.
CREDIT CONNIE KUNTZ