Changes coming to Naperville Riverwalk include potential revamp of Fredenhagen Park fountain

The Exchange Club Memories Fountain in Fredenhagen Park
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A potential fountain replacement, Washington Street Bridge renovations, and other capital projects were all on the Naperville Riverwalk Commission’s docket Wednesday morning.

Fredenhagen Park fountain could see a change

With the City of Naperville estimating a $400,000 price tag for repairs needed for the Exchange Club Memories Fountain in Fredenhagen Park, officials are now considering forgoing the fixes for a redesign.

Fredenhagen Park's fountain in 2015

Fredenhagen Park’s fountain was fully functional back in 2015.

The Fredenhagen family and the Naperville Exchange Club say they are open to the idea.

During the Naperville Riverwalk Commission’s April 4 meeting, Exchange Club President Trish Krenick said any changes to the landscape should respect owners of engraved bricks which fill the ground surrounding the fountain. The Exchange Club raised funds for the naming rights of the fountain by selling the commemorative bricks.

The Exchange Club Memories Fountain shut off in 2021 due to issues with its waterproofing membrane and water controls vault.

Fountain replacement ideas include a rotating sculpture, landscaped garden, a less-complicated water structure, or a combination of each proposition.

Director of the Transportation, Engineering, and Development (TED) Department Bill Novack said the city would soon determine who is involved in the design and set a timeline for the project. Riverwalk commissioners said no work will take place on the fountain until late 2023 or 2024.

Washington Street Bridge project

Adjacent to Fredenhagen Park, the Washington Street Bridge project took a step forward Wednesday morning. Traffic was moved from the east side to the west side in preparation for the demolition of the east half of the bridge.

“We finished getting everything all shored up underneath (the bridge),” said Novack. “We had some bad beams, and we are keeping an eye on everything else. But so far so good.”

This is the first of four stages of the Washington Street Bridge project. The city anticipates construction on the bridge will be complete in the late summer, or early fall of 2024.

Eagle Street Gateway renovations

Heading west down the river, Eagle Street Gateway will be getting a revamp of its own.

The 2031 Riverwalk Master Plan details the new gateway will feature a series of broad steps and terraces, along with a sloping Riverwalk path connecting river and street-level paths to help patrons with mobility concerns.

The city will begin the bidding process in the late spring or early summer, and construction is estimated to begin before the end of 2023.

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