Riverwalk survey seeks opinions on Naperville's iconic path
Have thoughts about the Riverwalk in Naperville?
Now is the time to share them.
The Riverwalk Commission, which oversees the popular 1.75-mile waterfront path created 35 years ago, is inviting users to fill out an opinion survey that goes live Monday, at napervilleriverwalk.com. The survey represents the first time Riverwalk stewards have sought formal public feedback about the path created by volunteers to honor the city's 150th anniversary.
"It's been viewed as the crown jewel of Naperville and a phenomenal asset of the city, and it's a great draw for the city and the downtown," said Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development for the city of Naperville and staff liaison to the Riverwalk Commission. "But we've never taken the pulse of the public."
Now is a great time to do so, he said, as the path's 35th anniversary year wraps up and as a new stretch of walkway prepares to open south of the river between Main and Webster streets as part of the Water Street District hospitality and dining development.
The new upper and lower boardwalks are expected to open this month, though Novack said delays in completing finishing touches could push the date back.
The timing of the survey also coincides with a community survey going out soon from Naperville Park District, which maintains the Riverwalk and its landscaping.
Gerry Heide, a member of both the park board and Riverwalk Commission, said the district has been working with a consultant to develop questions about its programs, parks and facilities and plans to finalize its survey soon.
The Riverwalk, listed as one of the district's 137 parks, also connects to other parks and amenities including the newly renovated Riverwalk Cafe and Paddleboat Quarry, the Jaycees Playground, Fredenhagen Park and the DuPage River Trail.
While Heide thinks the park district is doing a great job keeping the Riverwalk in top shape and encouraging activity along it, he said it's important to know whether residents agree -- and if not, what they would like to see done differently.
The survey is expected to take five minutes to complete. It will be mentioned in newsletters from the city and the park district and emailed to people signed up for the city's Riverwalk eNews list and the Downtown Naperville Alliance.
Novack said the city plans to keep the survey open for a few weeks or until about 1,000 responses have been gathered. Heide said it's all part of taking care of the path so many in Naperville have valued for decades.
"It's a very important amenity," Heide said, "and I think that shows."