Naperville Park District planning for new maintenance center

  • This maintenance shop in Knoch Park, along with the Barn Recreation Center, is set to be torn down next summer to make way for a new central maintenance facility for the Naperville Park District.

    This maintenance shop in Knoch Park, along with the Barn Recreation Center, is set to be torn down next summer to make way for a new central maintenance facility for the Naperville Park District. Courtesy of Felipe Cabrera

 
 
Updated 9/14/2015 10:19 AM

Naperville Park District is moving along with plans to replace the Barn Recreation Center and an aging maintenance shop in Knoch Park with a new $7.8 million maintenance facility by summer 2017.

Plans to replace the 1960s-era Barn at 421 W. Martin Ave. with a new maintenance facility have been in development since 2010, but officials knew they'd first need to find a place to relocate activities that take place in the nostalgic yet outdated venue.

 

That place will be the Fort Hill Recreation Center. Now that the $24 million indoor recreation venue is on track to be complete by fall 2016, the schedule for demolishing the barn and constructing a new maintenance facility is taking shape, said Eric Shutes, director of planning.

Next steps in the plan include developing construction documents, seeking bids for contractors to complete the work and preparing to borrow money to fund the project.

The park board has scheduled a hearing about the future issuance of debt during its next meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at the south maintenance facility, 3415 Book Road.

"It gives a heads-up notice for the community," said Sue Stanish, finance director.

The district plans to seek the authority to borrow up to $10 million in the hearing, authority that will last three years if granted. But Stanish said that doesn't mean the park district would borrow the entire $10 million, or do so all at once.

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Under the tax cap, the district can borrow $2.4 million a year without asking voter permission through a referendum question. That amount increases yearly by the consumer price index, which this year is set to rise 0.8 percent, Stanish said.

She said the district doesn't plan on going to a referendum question to ask for more money to build the maintenance facility, so any tax increase residents will see likely will be because of an increase in their property value.

Funds borrowed next year will help pay for the central maintenance facility in Knoch Park as well as other playground renovations and projects throughout the district's 2,500 acres in 140 parks.

By the middle of next summer, Shutes said he expects demolition of the Barn and the old maintenance shop will begin, followed by construction of the new maintenance facility.

Public restrooms are designed to be built near the entrance of the new building so Knoch Park visitors can use them even when the rest of the maintenance facility is closed, Shutes said. Parking now located along the west side of the barn will be retained so park users can still find spots close to the baseball fields.

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