Some of those who live in neighborhoods near the downtown want better back-and-forth with the municipality around citywide events.
Veronica Porter, president of the West Side Homeowners Association, said her group would like to “be part of the conversation” when plans are being put in place for festivals and celebrations in the city.
Last weekend’s Naperville Last Fling festivities brought a significant increase in people and traffic to the area nearest the attractions, which spread over the portion of the Riverwalk between Jackson Avenue and Rotary Hill. That was nothing new; it happens every Labor Day weekend, and the residents see it coming. But a communications stumble made the fest unexpectedly disruptive for its neighbors.
“Without our knowledge, the event was extended to 11:30” p.m., Porter told the City Council on Tuesday.
She said that people who will be effected by events, particularly in ways they haven’t been before, be invited to the table, or kept abreast of developments.
Kathy Benson, also a west side resident, suggested that the city could maintain communication with residents through the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation. While Naperville does a good job of things like parking control during events, Benson said, its existing “postmortem” polling needs to be expanded.
“I think it would be very reasonable to loop in and solicit feedback from neighborhoods,” she said.
City Clerk Pam Lafeber, who coordinates special events, said it’s a feasible proposition.
“We can definitely extend an invitation to the homeowners association group that’s going to be affected by the event, and invite them to the postmortem as well,” Lafeber said.
Councilman Paul Hinterlong said he and other council members learned of the Last Fling issues early in the week, in an email. He acknowledged the city “dropped the ball” on the situation.
, but it doesn’t have to become a habit.
“A lot of this is communication,” Hinterlong said. “We can discuss whether or not it’s appropriate at the time, but the first step needs to be communication.”
Porter, who has a son with a traumatic brain injury that sometimes requires quick access by emergency responders for treatment of seizures, agreed that the city runs events well overall. She emphasized that she was not complaining.
“It’s just when it becomes excessive,” she said.