City council candidates forum | Upgraded skate park | Neuqua Swimmer wins state

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Upcoming Mayoral and council candidate forum

The Naperville Senior Task Force and Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation will hold their second Naperville City Council Candidates Forum of 2023 tomorrow, February 28.

The program will provide shorter answers and more questions compared to the council candidates’ forum on January 31. This time around, 100 questions have been submitted by Naperville residents. About 20 of those will be asked. Candidates will be given all 100 questions before tomorrow’s event to become familiar with what’s to come. Each candidate will give either 30-45 second answers or one-to-three-word answers.

The current president of the Naperville Development Partnership, Mark Wright, will serve as moderator for the council candidates forum, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Naperville Municipal Center.

The groups will also host a mayoral candidate forum on Tuesday, March 14.

Upgraded skate park, synthetic turf fields approved

A major upgrade to a local skate park and synthetic field turf will be installed this summer in Naperville. The Naperville Park Board approved the contract on Thursday to create the new Rothermel Family Skate Park Facility at Centennial Park. Also announced was the confirmation to add synthetic turf infields at DuPage River Sports Complex and Knoch Park.

The skate park construction is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by fall. A contract of $559,900 was awarded to Spohn Ranch for the park. A  $120,000 donation for the project was given from the Rothermel Family Fund of the DuPage Foundation. Naperville residents went through an online survey to choose the features the park will offer, which includes a concrete bowl. 

The field turf contract of $269,637 was given to FieldTurf USA. The synthetic turf will be put down at DuPage River Sports Complex in the fall and be completed by late 2023. Knoch Park’s Memorial Field will have the turf installed in 2024. The Naperville Little League pitched in $200,000 for the project.

Will County Triple Crown Hiking Challenge

The Forest Preserve District of Will County has announced the new Will County Triple Crown Hiking Challenge. 

The inspiration stems from the national triple crown challenge, of hiking the three longest U.S. trails. For this local version, participants will take on the three longest trails in Will County.

The three trails are the 22-mile Wauponsee Glacial Trail from Joliet to Custer Park, 14 miles of Old Plank Road Trail in Will Country from Washington Street in Joliet to Harlem Avenue in Frankfort, and 13 miles of the I&M Canal State Trail from the Will County line in McKinley Woods preserve in Channahon to Brandon Road in Rockdale.

The Challenge will begin on March 1 and run through June 30. For more information, visit the Forest Preserve District of Will county’s website.

Nicky Lopez set to represent Italy at World Baseball Classic

The game’s biggest stars will be at the World Baseball Classic, which begins March 8 in Taiwan. Naperville Central graduate and current Kansas City Royal, Nicky Lopez, will take the field, but for the country of Italy.

Born and raised in Naperville and a 2010 IHSA 4A state champion, Lopez has strong ties to Italy. In a Twitter post written in November, Lopez states that his mom is 100% Italian and his Dad also has some Italian heritage. He went on to add that his family is in Italy and that his ancestors come from Italy.

Lopez will most likely play alongside Royals Teammate Vinnie Pasquantino in the infield. Team Italy will begin their World Baseball Classic campaign on March, 9 against Cuba.

Neuqua’s Parkinson wins state

On Saturday, Neuqua Valley junior Alex Parkinson led wire to wire in the 500-yard freestyle, winning the State championship with a time of 4:29.39. He also broke the Neuqua school record during the prelims on Friday.

All six local Naperville schools had swimmers competing at the IHSA State Finals in Westmont. Metea Valley senior Jaeddan Gamilla finished in third place in the 100-yard breaststroke and swam the third fastest time in the 200 IM. Naperville Central senior Alex Lakin finishes as the runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Jonathan Wang from Naperville North takes 4th in the event. Benet Academy senior Jack Larson finished in 9th place in the 100-yard freestyle.

Hinsdale Central won the 2023 State Championship as a team. Naperville Central finished in 6th place while Waubonsie Valley finished in 10th.