Naperville Park District Adjusts, Looks Ahead to 2021

Naperville Park District Adjusts, Looks Ahead to 2021
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Despite shutdowns and ongoing issues due to COVID-19, the Naperville Park District did their best to make this year a successful one.

2020 For The Naperville Park District

At a special board meeting to discuss its $41.6 million proposed budget for 2021, the Naperville Park District first highlighted some of its accomplishments from 2020. Those include the opening 95th Community Plaza, the redevelopment of Knoch Park, and Wolf’s Crossing Community Park, which will have a grand opening next year

The park district had to adjust to the shutdowns of some of their facilities due to the pandemic. They did so by offering new virtual online programs.

“Our virtual offerings, which did not exist prior to 2020, began very quickly in the spring with our staff transitioning to virtual programs,” said Director of Planning at the Naperville Park District Eric Shutes. “We’re in a process right now of transiting some of our in-person programs to more virtual offerings. We’ve had nearly 2,000 participants and over $77,000 in this [virtual] area.”

Outdoor recreational activities like paddle boating, kayaking, and golf were up this year despite restrictions.

Last year the Park District’s Pumpkin Smash had over 5,300 pounds of pumpkins that were composted. This year they received almost triple the amount at 14,529 pounds composted, setting a new record.

COVID-19 Impacts

But the pandemic has and continues to have an effect on the park district. According to the budget presentation they’ve made district-wide budget cuts, furloughed part-time staff, and canceled many programs. The district will use $625,000 in reserves to balance the recreation fund.

“Hopefully by this time next year we won’t be talking about any of this,” said Executive Director of the Naperville Park District Ray McGury “We’re going to be talking about the recovery and the fact that life will get back to normal. But we’re trying to bring normal as best as we can to the people that we serve.”

Knowing that many have strained budgets due to the pandemic, there will be no increase in property taxes paid to the park district. $8.9 million of the proposed budget is allotted for capital projects.

Key renovations in 2021 include:

  • Brighton Ridge Park Playground (deferred from 2020)
  • Brush Hill Park Playground (deferred from 2020)
  • Commissioners Park Playground
  • Frontier Sports Complex Playground (east side) (deferred from 2020)
  • Kingshill Park Playground
  • Walnut Ridge Park Basketball Court (deferred from 2020)

Aside from Wolf’s Crossing’s grand opening, other goals for the Naperville Park District in 2021 are to re-open some of their facilities like Centennial Beach, which was forced to shut down due to concerns over COVID-19.

The full budget presentation is available on the park district’s website.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.


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