Park district seeks activity center ideas from Naperville residents
Residents who will use Naperville Park District's proposed indoor activity center are invited to three open houses this month to share ideas about which amenities they'd like to see in the facility.
Basketball courts, a walking track and a basic fitness center definitely will be included in designs for the activity center, which is planned as an 80,000-square-foot building at 1760 Quincy Ave. and is expected to cost $20 million, including land costs, Executive Director Ray McGury said.
Beyond that, though, the park district is open to suggestions. Members of the public can share ideas for the activity center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Players Indoor Sports Center, 1740 Quincy Ave.; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 W. Jackson Ave.; and from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in meeting rooms B and C of the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.
"We'd like to just gather public input on the possible amenities and what folks in the community would like to see in the facility in terms of programs," said Eric Shutes, director of planning.
Should volleyball and badminton courts be included? What type of cardio equipment should be installed in the fitness center? Should the facility include dance studios? Shutes said these are among the topics on which the park district is seeking feedback as it strives to construct a venue that will give seniors, people with special needs and average athletes who do not play on elite teams more public space to be active.
Each open house will be an informal event with no scheduled presentations. Shutes said visitors can progress through stations showing answers to frequently asked questions about the site and aerial photos before talking with park district staff or leaving their thoughts on comment cards.
The second session, to be held beginning Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, is geared to senior citizens, but park board President Rich Janor said anyone can attend any of the open houses whenever is convenient.
"(The activity center) will be an important gathering place not only for senior citizens but for families with special needs and for Naperville residents of all ages," Janor said.
Park staff will run the open houses, but representatives from the architect hired to design the activity center under a $1.2 million contract also might stop by, Shutes said. The park board last month approved the contract with Williams Architects of Itasca, which designed the 2011 renovation to the Centennial Beach bathhouse and has worked on indoor activity centers for park districts including Barrington, Carol Stream, Fox Valley and Geneva.
The firm was brought on prior to the open houses to ensure the activity center can be built by fall 2016, officials said. Design and permitting are scheduled to take place this year so the park district can break ground on the facility next spring, building on a site it bought for $2 million in November.
But the immediate next step is hearing from the public, which Janor said largely has been supportive of the project -- the first push to build an indoor activity center since a similar effort failed in the mid-2000s.
"We know people are excited about activity center," Janor said. "Hopefully people will be passionate enough about it to come out and share their feelings."