Riverwalk Master Plan for 2031

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It’s a go-to spot for engagements, wedding photos or just a casual stroll on a beautiful summer day. And in 2031, the Naperville Riverwalk will turn 50 years old.

“The community has really adopted the Riverwalk as one of the terrific assets that makes Naperville great. I call it the glue that holds the community together because it stretches right through the downtown and reaches out into the neighborhoods. And people value that.”

In commemoration of the Naperville Riverwalk’s half-century mark, Geoff Roehll and the Riverwalk Planning, Design and Construction Commission have put together a master plan to provide insight on what the next decade will bring.

“One of the things that seemed a little backwards is that – these projects were coming to us and we had no idea they were going to be occurring and we wanted to get ahead of the curve and have a vision for the Riverwalk.”

What Does the Riverwalk Master Plan Include?

That vision will bring extensions to the south section of the Riverwalk between Hillside and Martin Avenue along Washington. The commission also hopes to fill in gaps, in particular on the east side of Washington by the Burger King. Creating a plaza and parking lot for the Grand Pavilion will also be in the cards.

“It’s just a guide and it’s a working too. And as new ideas surface over the next 10 to 11 years, we’ll update the master plan to accommodate those.”

Now the master plan heads to City Council, not for funding, but for recognition.

“One thing that we are not asking for is any capital at this time. What we want to do is make sure they’re aware of these projects; there are costs and maintenance costs associated with each project. Collectively we don’t really care what that adds up to because we’re not asking for a capital investment.”

Future Funding

The master plan will eventually call for private and public dollars to fulfill its mission.

“Naperville was founded because of the river. People like being net to that river. And transforming it from a utilitarian function to a public park and public amenity, I think it’ll be here for a long time.”

Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Kevin Jackman