Naperville park activities to get back in motion

  • Basketball nets and rims -- 104 of them -- are back in place at parks maintained by the Naperville Park District, which is reopening for many activities following Phase 3 rules in the Restore Illinois plan beginning in June.

      Basketball nets and rims -- 104 of them -- are back in place at parks maintained by the Naperville Park District, which is reopening for many activities following Phase 3 rules in the Restore Illinois plan beginning in June. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The playground at Centennial Park in Naperville still is marked closed Friday, but the Naperville Park District plans to resume many activities in June. Swimming at Centennial Beach tentatively is scheduled to begin June 20, but the district is awaiting guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, spokeswoman Sameera Luthman said.

      The playground at Centennial Park in Naperville still is marked closed Friday, but the Naperville Park District plans to resume many activities in June. Swimming at Centennial Beach tentatively is scheduled to begin June 20, but the district is awaiting guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, spokeswoman Sameera Luthman said. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Park District facilities, including Gartner Park, have been marked as closed during the stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But several park district activities are set to reopen or begin for the season in June.

      Naperville Park District facilities, including Gartner Park, have been marked as closed during the stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But several park district activities are set to reopen or begin for the season in June. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/1/2020 6:12 AM

Naperville Park District is putting the wheels of reopening in motion so residents can get back in motion in June with exercise options including basketball, volleyball, boating, skateboarding, T-ball and softball.

Basketball rims and nets -- 104 of them -- have been rehung. Volleyball nets and disc golf baskets are set to be put back beginning Monday. Crews are pumping out excess rainwater in advance of opening Paddleboat Quarry as soon as Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 95th Street Farmers Market is set to start Thursday, T-ball and softball practices can get going, and the skate parks at Frontier Sports Complex and Centennial Park are ready to reopen, too.

Summer camps are set to begin, with reduced group sizes of eight campers to one instructor, on June 15.

Sameera Luthman, the park district's director of marketing and communications, said it's all part of "what will be a different, but still fun summer" under Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan.

In light of the continued presence of the COVID-19 virus, the park district is following all guidelines under Phase 3 as it prepares to reopen, Luthman said.

Staff members are providing activity-specific guidelines to everyone who registers for a program to make sure they understand the social distancing and hygiene expectations. And the district plans to debut a new reservation software soon so people can sign up for times to use amenities such as the kayaks, stand-up boards and paddleboats at Paddleboat Quarry.

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In general, participants are expected to follow the 6-foot distancing rule and wear a face mask whenever safe distancing is not possible, Luthman said.

"From a practical sense, if you're able to wear a face mask when you're not able to social-distance, that's really the best-case scenario," Luthman said. "But we understand that's not always practical."

Wearing a mask while exercising can result in difficulty breathing or feeling overheated, so it will be up to individuals to decide how to interpret the guidelines.

"People, at the end of the day, have to police themselves," Luthman said. "Be respectful and understand the six-foot distancing, that's what needs to be maintained."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While adhering to the specifications of the Restore Illinois plan, the park board is suing Gov. J.B. Pritzker, seeking the ability to make its own decisions about what, how and when to safely reopen.

In a suit filed May 19, the park district said the governor has overstepped his authority to control local units of government. The suit's next date in court is set for June 5.

In a message to the community posted on the district's website, Executive Director Ray McGury said the governor's executive order recognizes continuation of local government functions as essential, "but the order itself improperly interferes with the park board's ability to make their own decisions." The legal action seeks a determination that the park board can exercise its own authority as it works to guard the health and safety of its participants.

"This suspension of access to recreation programs and facilities has resulted in a negative effect on our community's overall physical and mental wellness," McGury said in his written message. "We know that it's time to get back to recreation in Naperville and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future."

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