Park District master plan nearing final vote
By David Sharos For The Sun December 14, 2012 5:14PM
Eric Shutes, Naperville Park District director of planning, speaks Thursday with residents of Naperville's Countryside subdivision who gathered at the municipal center to voice their concerns about potential improvements to May Watts Park as part of the park district's 2012 Capital Improvements Plan. Jeff Cagle / For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 17, 2013 6:27AM
A new nature center for Naperville. Developing Southwest Community Park. Studying the idea of an aquatic center for the city.
These are among the highlights of the proposed master plan for the Naperville Park District. The plan would lay out the district’s big picture plans for the next 10 years.
Park District Executive Director Ray McGury said the master plan appears to be ready for a final vote, perhaps as early as the Park Board’s Monday night meeting.
On Thursday night, the Park District offered residents a chance to sound off on the plans at a special open house at the Naperville Municipal Center.
Like previous versions, officials said the draft is based on earlier plans, extensive community input, demographic studies of the Naperville area including the most recent U.S. Census data and national standards for park and recreation facilities.
Park District Director of Planning Eric Shutes said the proposed plan has been rigorously studied and that officials weren’t expecting to do a lot more tweaking.
“The highlights of the master plan have been posted on our website for a while and we feel like people are pretty familiar with our plans and are happy with them,” he said. “We conducted our interest and opinion surveys in the late spring, followed by a board retreat we had in June where we met with various focus groups.”
Sherry Manschot of Wheaton, who serves as the marketing and public relations manager for the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, said her organization utilizes a number of Naperville Park District facilities including the newly-launched 95th Street facility and the Rubin Center in downtown Naperville.
She came to the open house to keep updated on the district’s plans.
“We have a number of programs that utilize the facilities in Naperville and we’re just interested in keeping current on plans,” Manschot said.
Larry Costain of Naperville said he has lived in the city for nearly 30 years and continues to be interested in land conservation and restoration projects.
“I work with the local Kiwanis Club and we have an ‘Adopt-a-Park’ program that we’re involved with,” Costain said. “I’m interested in some of the open land projects and seeing what the Park District plans to do with restoration and things like tall grass prairies.”
Some residents like Naperville’s Dan Trampel expressed concerns about the cost of the plans.
“I’ve lived here in town since 1985, and I feel like ... taxes never come down,” he said.
Some highlights of the plan are work on Southwest Community Park, a 33-acre park located at 3252 Wolf’s Crossing Road in southwest Naperville. Possible amenities being considered for Southwest Community Park include lighted ball fields, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, practice fields, a loop trail, and a restroom/shelter.
The Knoch Knolls Nature Center is in the design phase, with construction to begin in the summer of 2013 and continuing through summer of 2014. It would feature nature-oriented classes and programs at its site at Knoch Knolls Park.
Also, the district would like to do a survey about whether the city needs an aquatic center.