Construction starting soon on new Riverwalk park

  • North Central College and the city of Naperville's Riverwalk Commission have a stormwater permit in place to begin work this fall on a future park promoting the college at 430 S. Washington St.

    North Central College and the city of Naperville's Riverwalk Commission have a stormwater permit in place to begin work this fall on a future park promoting the college at 430 S. Washington St. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer August 2014

 
 
Updated 6/10/2015 4:25 PM

North Central College and Naperville officials who are collaborating to build a new park along the Riverwalk say construction is expected to begin this fall.

DuPage County has approved a stormwater permit for the site, at 430 N. Washington St. just north of the Burger King, so the city and the college are almost ready to seek bids for the work.

 

Bill Novack, Naperville's director of transportation, engineering and development, said the county has accepted the project's application for a stormwater permit, which it must receive to prove the park won't cause flooding concerns along the DuPage River.

Now officials can seek bids for work to transform the empty site of a 1930s-era retail building that many called an "eyesore" into an open space promoting the college along the river.

"Our intent is to start construction this fall," Novack said.

Plans for the park call for an electronic sign advertising North Central College, a sloped open space leading down to the DuPage River and a plaza to recognize the college's history in Naperville since 1870.

"We wanted to create open park space on the river," Jim Godo, North Central's assistant vice president for external relations, said about the project when it began. "When this property is complete, I think we'll all look back on it as a great community decision."

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Plans also include a plaque and a sculpture to highlight the college's tradition of strong cross-country teams. A new segment of the Riverwalk path will be added to connect the lower walkway under Washington Street to the Moser Bridge near the college's football stadium.

Before park construction began, the college bought the property, which had been foreclosed, for $450,000. Then the city spent $50,000 to tear down the old building in January 2013.

Last October, the $2.2 million project received a $1.1 million state grant to help fund soil cleanup on the site, which used to be a dry cleaners and an auto dealer.

North Central College voluntarily has entered the property in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's site remediation program and is seeking a letter saying no further cleanup is necessary.

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