O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon’s Rock Springs Park renamed to honor civic group

Rock Springs Park in O’Fallon.
Rock Springs Park in O’Fallon.

O’Fallon Rotary Club’s civic philanthropy has been recognized by renaming Rock Springs Park in its honor.

The O’Fallon City Council approved the resolution changing the name to Rock Springs Rotary Park, effective immediately, at its Nov. 20 meeting.

Since 2004, the three O’Fallon Rotary Clubs have donated more than $200,000 and over 1,800 man-hours to the park, which is located at 1428 E. Third St.

In October, the club raised $19,000 in an annual auction, which they plan to use for construction of a fire pit and pavilion area. They are helping with the cost and labor, and work with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department on these projects.

The estimated $47,000 project includes a commitment of $25,000 from the Rotary Club during the next three years. The city has obtained a Metro East Park District grant.

The Rotary has made significant enhancements over the years. In 2004, O’Fallon building contractors Steve Ellerbrake and Mark Fulford donated time and talent to constructing a Nature Center, including the log house kit. O’Fallon Lumber provided building materials and support, as did grants from the Metro East Park District ($50,000) and Rotary Club District ($55,000).

The 1,300 square-foot center cost $120,000. The project, which the city helped fund, coincided with the Rotary’s 100th anniversary and the city’s anniversary too.

The Nature Center is used to support natural sciences, ecology and environmental science, and outdoor education opportunities for city students and programs for children and adults of all ages.

“This project was a prime example of how the community benefits when civic groups, the city and local businesses work together to achieve a common goal,” Rotary Club president Dale Rupright wrote in a letter to the council.

Signage will be placed in spring 2018 to hopefully coincide with completion of the fire pit and pavilion. Fulford is the lead on this project.

Rock Springs, one of O’Fallon’s 11 parks, is known for its rustic setting, 0.54-mile inner trail, Nature Center, dog park, walking shelter and playground area.

The Rotary Club also donated a water fountain and pavilion at the dog park, which cost $15,000.

In 2013-2014, the Rotary Club installed playground equipment, a joint effort with the city that also benefited from a Metro East Park District grant and a Rotary Club District 6510 grant. Twenty-five members spent 700 man-hours on the project. The cost was $70,000, and included the Rotary’s $42,500 donation plus grants.

“The result is a world-class playground that O’Fallon children can enjoy for many years,” Rupright said.

Rotary members in O’Fallon belong to either the Rotary Club (Noon Hour), Sunrise Club or the St. Clair County Sunset Club.

“The three Rotary Clubs are very community-oriented and have been very active within O’Fallon for years and continue to be so,” Mayor Herb Roach said.

In addition to helping with Rock Springs for 14 years, the Rotary assists seniors to get around the area with the operation of a van service, sponsor the annual Halloween Parade, and supply funds and manpower for local Habitat for Humanity projects. They installed a chair-lift in the Katy Cavins Community Center.