The Stevens Point Board of Park Commissioners recommended Tuesday, May 6, that approximately 35 acres of undeveloped park land straddling the Plover River on the east side of Stevens Point be named Rogers Park.
The recommendation will go to the Common Council at its May 19 meeting, and the public is invited to submit comment about the proposal to the director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, 2442 Sims Ave., Stevens Point.
At a recent meeting several commissioners expressed interest in honoring George Rogers, a retired editor and publisher of the Stevens Point Journal and one of the founders of the Portage County Gazette who worked to protect the environment and the Plover River corridor as well as promoting open space in and around the community.
Tom Schrader, Parks Department director, said the city has three separate parcels along the Plover River that are contiguous and unnamed. The parcels, two of about 14 acres and one of about seven, straddle the river and Interstate 39.
One 14-acre parcel is east of I-39 and undeveloped, except for a section of the Green Circle Trail from south of Hofmeister Drive toward the river and then north along the river. The city received the property in 1990 as part of a subdivision development for dedicated parkland, Schrader said.
Rogers was a founding member of the Green Circle Committee which led to the development of the trail.
The other two parcels are west of I-39 and are undeveloped, with public access only via the river, Schrader said.
“Most citizens in the area know that one of George’s biggest passions was the Plover River,” Schrader said. “He was very instrumental in forming the Plover River Alliance and even chaired the Alliance for most of its existence. George wrote numerous articles about the importance of the Plover River, not only as a recreational asset, but also as the city’s drinking water source.”
Schrader said naming the park for the Rogers family would honor his years of work related to the Plover River and well as the work he did with the Green Circle Trail.
“I feel this would be a great tribute to him and his family,” Schrader said.
Rogers died unexpectedly Nov. 4, 2013, and his wife, Jeanette, who worked with him on many of his projects, died April 22.
He followed his father and grandfather as a local newspaperman and community leader. He developed a love for the environment in his youth and that grew as he got older. He began writing outdoor columns at the Journal and continued doing so at The Gazette until his death, with his final column published in the issue that came out after his death.