Residents give input on Park District projects

Capital improvement projects scheduled for next year were the focus of an open house meeting held Thursday at the Municipal Center in Naperville.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m., residents were invited to view plans as well as offer input to park officials as part of the district’s annual effort to solicit opinions from the public.

Park District Director of Planning Eric Shutes said the slate of projects for next year is somewhat smaller in scale than some years.

“We have some sidewalk and playground renovations planned, as well as segment five of the Knoch Knolls Trail,” Shutes said. “At this point there are no budget figures as we need to gather input from residents as we always do and then go back and refine the plans. Overall, the projects are smaller as many are renovations based on the life cycle of things.”

A total of 10 projects were listed including tennis court renovations and resurfacing at Ashbury and Ranchview Park, retention basin and shoreline restoration at Rock Ridge and Summerfield Lake Park, bridge replacement at Bailey Hobson Woods Park, and site furnishing and paver installation at Sally Benton Park.

Residents came at regular intervals during the evening to view placards and discuss plans. Planner Aileen McEldowney said a number of the proposed projects were on the table “as part of the normal” cycle of renovations.

“A lot of the capital replacement is things like tennis courts that are going to be resurfaced,” she said. “This year, there has been a lot of attention on the Knoch Knolls (Nature) Center as that has been one of the major things we’ve done.”

Naperville resident Barbara Williams said she lives by the soon-to-be opened nature center and that overall, she is pleased with the project.

“I used for to work for an architectural firm that designed the former Sears Tower, and I like what the district’s architect has done with the building here,” Williams said. “This project is very close to me and I like to see the open space and that the disc golf area is being expanded as a lot of kids come over and play there.”

Williams said that “looking at pictures of plans doesn’t do them justice” and that she wanted to come over and see them herself.

“I have to say I’m excited about this project and am looking forward to seeing all the uses it will have,” she said.

Bill McCarthy, who said he moved to Naperville just in the past three months from Oswego, spoke with project manager Jessica Burgdorf about the Hunter Woods project, which includes proposals to add playground equipment. McCarthy said he would like to see playground gear for both older and younger children, as well as a pier so that people could fish at the park.

“We just moved here, and we’re very happy about the park being by our house, but it’s very sunny and liable to get hot in the summer,” he said. “Hopefully there will be some shade options added.”

Eileen and Bob Boyda of Naperville praised the plans for Rock Ridge Park, where plans for a retention basin and pond restoration are in place.

“We liked what we’ve heard about them maintaining the integrity of the pond,” Eileen said. “The Park District has been very responsive to the concerns of some of the residents living nearby.”

“There are going to be a lot of weeds and brush removed and replaced with native planting,” Bob Boyda added. “We also like plans to continue to improve the water quality.”

Those who are still interested in providing feedback to the district may submit comments to Shutes at eshutes@napervilleparks.org. A complete list of projects is available at the district’s website at www.napervilleparks.org/news/newsupdate/2015capitalprojectsopenhouseaug14

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