BELOIT (WKOW) -- The official dedication and ribbon cutting for the John Rose Canoe & Kayak Launch will be held Saturday, June 5 at 11:00 a.m.
The launch is located adjacent to the Chester Square Parking Lot, 534 Fourth Street, Beloit. The event is open to the public and will be held rain or shine. In case of rain, the dedication will be held inside the Chester Square Building, 136 West Grand Ave., Beloit.
The canoe & kayak launch was created after the City of Beloit removed the parking deck over the Rock River in 2008. The City of Beloit Park, Recreation & Conservation Advisory Commission recommended that the newly created Public Park be named the John Rose Canoe & Kayak Launch. John Rose was a beloved Beloit School District teacher who passed away in 2007 not long after he retired from teaching. During the 34 years Rose spent in Beloit, he taught at Roosevelt, Aldrich, Lincoln, McNeal and Beloit Memorial and coached football, wrestling, golf and boys and girls soccer. Rose's lasting legacy at Beloit Memorial High School is the Outdoor Adventure class which is still available as an elective for seniors. Students in the Outdoor Adventure class learn skills such as canoeing & kayaking, scuba, rappelling, survival skills and biking. Rose also took many BMHS students on memorable summertime canoe and camping trips, passing on to them his sense of adventure and great love of the outdoors.
Speaking at the dedication will be Downtown Beloit Association Executive Director, Kathleen Braatz; Beloit City Manager, Larry Arft; Beloit Memorial High School Outdoor Adventure student, Megan Slavish; Beloit Memorial High School teacher Mark Anderson and Steve McNeal, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs for Beloit School District. Anderson and McNeal were colleagues and close personal friends of John Rose. Returning to Beloit to attend the dedication will be John Rose's wife, Karen Rose, who now lives in Depoe Bay, Oregon, his two daughters, Shannon & Heidi and his 5-month old granddaughter Geena.
Immediately following the dedication & ribbon cutting Beloit Memorial High School Outdoor Adventure students and other community members will launch kayaks & canoes and take a paddle trip down the Rock River. People are encouraged to bring their own kayaks and canoes and join in the fun. Paddlers should make their own transportation plans for the return trip to Beloit. For more information about take out points and paddling Beloit area waterways contact Therese Oldenburg, Special Projects Manager at Visit Beloit, 608-365-4838.
Downtown Beloit Association awarded the City of Beloit the "2009 Best Streetscape Project" for the John Rose Canoe & Kayak Launch. Kathleen Braatz, Downtown Beloit Association Executive Director cited the launch as "a very progressive green project, promoting use of the Rock River and quiet water sports in the heart of downtown Beloit. The John Rose Canoe & Kayak Launch now welcomes people to enjoy the river where in recent history they could only view concrete and pylons. This is a wonderful addition to the bike path along the river's edge through Downtown, encouraging outdoor activity in the heart of our city. We see this as an expression of hope and health…a bright future for Beloit and the community that will enjoy it for years to come."
The launch will be an integral part of developing the Rock River as a destination for people to explore the newly formed Rock River Trail. On April 16, Visit Beloit and City of Beloit representatives attended the inaugural meeting in Rockford for "The Rock River Trail – Drive It. Hike It. Bike It. Kayak It. Canoe It." The meeting brought together representatives from the 10 counties the Rock River flows through in Wisconsin and Illinois. The Rock River Trail concept, initiated by Rock River Times newspaper publisher Frank Schier, was created to promote the Rock River as a recreational/eco-tourism destination, similar to the Appalachian Trail. The Rock River Trail will be developed over the next 2 years as a cooperative effort between all the communities along the 287 miles of the Rock River. The river runs through 10 counties and 33 cities and villages in Illinois and Wisconsin, from Horicon, Wisconsin to Rock Island, Illinois. For more information about the Rock River Trail visit www.rockrivertrail.com.