Naperville Accepts Jaycees’ $200,000 Park Donation but with Conditions

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A donation of $200,000 to fund the Naperville Jaycees Smart Park would be the biggest in the organization’s history.

But some Naperville City Council members almost halted the deal.

Some members said they do not approve of the Jaycees’ plan to include a plaque with club leaders’ names at the park, which is planned for outside the municipal center.

“I don’t want to see names on a plaque. It’s not your park. It’s a community park. You’re a community partner. That’s the way it should be presented,” said Councilman Paul Hinterlong.

And others suggested the Wi-Fi park is not needed.

Becky Anderson said she has talked with millennials who agree.

“They would not use a park like this. They use their cell phones. They use their cellular data. They don’t want to plug in and sit there even if they’re working downtown,” she said.

But Mayor Steve Chirico said he believes in the park and has already secured $500,000 in donations to fund the park and create a reserve fund for maintenance.

“People want it. They wouldn’t spend their money and offer up organizations’ money if they didn’t want it,” he said.

Council voted 7-1 in favor of the donation agreement but with negotiations moving forward on the plaque, signage and other details at the park.

Also at the meeting, council approved a nearly $49 million tax levy but directed staff to bring back options for cost reduction to reduce the levy by $2.1 million.

That reduction would decrease the average homeowner’s city portion of the property tax bill by $1.

Without the $2.1 million reduction, that portion of the tax bill would increase by nearly $40.

That vote passed 7-1 with Councilwoman Patty Gustin voting ‘no’ and Councilwoman Judy Brodhead absent from the meeting.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.