Loves Park, Illinois
|Motto: The City with a Heart|
|Elevation||728 ft (222 m)|
|Area||16.45 sq mi (43 km2)|
|- land||16.03 sq mi (42 km2)|
|- water||0.42 sq mi (1 km2)|
|Density||1,387.2 / sq mi (536 / km2)|
|Mayor||Darryl Lindberg (R)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Postal code||61115, 61131, 61132, 61111, 61130|
|Wikimedia Commons: Loves Park, Illinois|
Loves Park is a city in Winnebago County, Illinois, United States. In recent years, the city has grown eastward to spread into Boone County, Illinois. The population was 23,996 at the 2010 census, up from 20,044 at the 2000 census.
Loves Park is located at (42.326227, -89.025739).
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 16.45 square miles (42.6 km2), of which 16.03 square miles (41.5 km2) (or 97.45%) is land and 0.42 square miles (1.1 km2) (or 2.55%) is water.
As early as the 1830s, settlers were claiming and purchasing land in what would one day become Loves Park. These first settlers were primarily farmers, but in the decades that followed, the area began to grow, and with the growth came the establishment of businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations.
Although the city is named after Malcolm A. Love, he died in 1930 and therefore was not around to see its incorporation. Love and his wife, Rose (Stites) Love, did not play a significant part in the development of the city; however, the city bears the Love name because of the couple's purchase of 236 acres on the east bank of the Rock River in 1901—an area that came to be called Love's Park (and sometimes Love's Grove). The area became a popular gathering place, social center, and, eventually, the site of what was referred to as the city's "first subdivision," which consisted of 95 lots created from a portion of the Love's land. The Interurban rail line, built in 1902, allowed for the growth of Loves Park, as it connected Rockford, Illinois, to Janesville, Wisconsin, stopping at all points in between.
In the early 1900s, the area was referred to as Love's Park, with an apostrophe in the name. This was changed to the current spelling of Loves Park, without the apostrophe, when area journalists decided to omit it around 1925. When the city incorporated in 1947, that spelling was used as the official one.
The path to the incorporation of Loves Park was neither quick nor easy. For over two decades, the community debated whether annexation with Rockford or incorporation was the best way to move forward. Finally, on April 30, 1947, residents voted in favor of incorporation, and the city of Loves Park was established. It was and is the first municipality north of the city of Rockford. Shortly after incorporation, the Loves Park (Riverside) Toll Bridge was built across the Rock River, which further connected the city to Rockford.
Throughout the years, many businesses have come and gone. Well-known places like Top Hat Restaurant, River Lane Outdoor Theatre, and Bredsteen's Pioneer Grocery Store are no longer open, but others-such as Blume's Garage, AW Anderson Agency, and Woodward, Inc.-are still thriving.
Some of the area's churches, including Grace Lutheran, Forest Hills Evangelical Free, and Bethany Presbyterian Church, date back to the early days of the city. Generations of residents have been members at these places of worship and have held christenings, weddings, and funerals within their walls.
Any introduction to the city would not be complete without mentioning Harlem School District No. 122, which is now shared by Loves Park and nearby Machesney Park. Harlemites, or "Huskies," as they are often called, have been educated in the district since the Harlem Consolidated School was completed on March 6, 1911. Loves Park Grade School has educated younger children since it was built in 1916. The schools have continued to grow along with the city, and additional district schools have opened throughout the years.
According to the 2010 census, Loves Park now has a population of 23,996 and a total land area of 16.03 square miles. Often, residents who live in Loves Park work in and visit Rockford and vice versa.
The community is well known for its annual Memorial Day Young at Heart Festival that began in 1972 as a way to celebrate the city's 25th anniversary. It still attracts visitors from across northern Illinois. In addition, Loves Park is home to the Rockford RiverHawks Frontier League baseball stadium built in 2006, the Rockford Speedway (which celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2012), Rock Cut State Park (which contains over 3,000 acres), the nationally known Ski Broncs show, Sand Park Field of Honor Veterans Memorial, and numerous other recreational sites.
Of course, due to its proximity to the Rock River, the city has had its share of floods and other natural disasters, such as tornadoes and blizzards, through the years. However, the resiliency of the city and its residents continues to prevail.
Loves Park has had eight mayors since 1947; the current mayor, Darryl Lindberg, took office in 1997. The Loves Park motto is "The City with a Heart," and heart symbols can bee seen all over town—from the welcome sign to the water towers.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,044 people, 8,144 households, and 5,399 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,387.2 people per square mile (535.6/km²). There were 8,452 housing units at an average density of 584.9 per square mile (225.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.89% White, 2.33% African American, 0.21% Native American, 1.81% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.13% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.27% of the population.
There were 8,144 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,238, and the median income for a family was $52,061. Males had a median income of $38,167 versus $25,771 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,781. About 3.7% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Lindsay, Nicole C. (2013). Images of America: Loves Park. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-7385-9093-6.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.