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posted: 6/28/2013 5:30 AM

Naperville's Knoch Park getting baseball, tennis upgrades

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  • The Naperville Park District is adding a walking path to May Watts Park beginning this summer.

       The Naperville Park District is adding a walking path to May Watts Park beginning this summer.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Improvements to 12 tennis courts will be part of the renovations at Knoch Park North.

      Improvements to 12 tennis courts will be part of the renovations at Knoch Park North.

  • The Naperville Park District is adding a walking path to May Watts Park beginning this summer.

       The Naperville Park District is adding a walking path to May Watts Park beginning this summer.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Four ball fields at Knoch Park North will receive improvements including accessible paths for people with disabilities and new backstops during a $600,000 project the Naperville Park District is beginning in mid-July.

       Four ball fields at Knoch Park North will receive improvements including accessible paths for people with disabilities and new backstops during a $600,000 project the Naperville Park District is beginning in mid-July.
    Photos by Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

As soon as Knoch Park is done playing host to the Naperville Exchange Club's 26th annual Ribfest July 3-7, some elements of the area will become a construction site as the Naperville Park District looks to improve four ball fields and 12 tennis courts.

Knoch Park North renovations totaling about $600,000 are set to begin in mid-July so the upgraded baseball, softball and tennis facilities will be ready for use again next spring or sooner.

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"The minute they're folding tables up, we're going to get started on that," Executive Director Ray McGury said about the project.

Work on the section of the park north of Martin Avenue is a 'Phase 2' of sorts to improvements completed last summer on the southern section, said Eric Shutes, director of planning.

Baseball and softball fields south of Martin Avenue received new backdrops and accessible concrete paths for people with disabilities during the first phase of Knoch Park work, which also included a picnic shelter, a multiuse path that connects to trails at nearby Edward Hospital, a new playground and a new restroom building.

But Shutes said the park district waited to fix up the northern side of the park because officials did not want all the fields to be unavailable at the same time.

Knoch Park's fields see heavy activity during spring sports seasons and also are used by teams from Naperville Unit District 203 schools, said Brad Wilson, director of recreation.

New field grass will need time to get established before baseball and softball seasons begin again.

"It's a really nice facelift," Shutes said about the project. "It's also a nice fit to get it done in the fall."

Tennis court restoration, however, is scheduled to be finished by the end of summer. The work includes repairing cracks, adjusting fences, replacing posts that hold the nets, repaving, color coating and striping all 12 courts, which will be unavailable from July 22 to Aug. 30.

Park board President Rich Janor called Knoch Park, 724 S. West St., one of the park district's "marquee" locations and said the improvements to recreation amenities will help keep it that way.

"One of the clear directions from our residents is to take care of what we have," Janor said.

Other work scheduled to begin this summer includes construction of a walking path at May Watts Park, 804 S. Whispering Hills Drive, and the groundbreaking of the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, which will be the park district's first staffed environmental education facility.

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