More participation, more revenue for Naperville Park District

In a continuing sign that participation numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels, Naperville Park District officials are projecting revenue increases in many areas for 2022.

While stressing the park district remains on a solid financial foundation, Executive Director Brad Wilson also noted the challenges that remain with maintaining proper staffing levels and working through inflation and supply-chain issues.

"The demands for our programs and facilities are as high as what we've seen in the time that many of us have been here," Wilson said during a recent presentation to the park district board. "Our challenges are being able to provide the staff to be able to meet those needs."

The park district has tried numerous strategies to attract and retain employees, including bonuses for new hires, community outreach and advertising. Despite struggles to fill key positions, most programs and activities have thrived so far this year.

Andrea Coates, director of recreation and facilities, told board members the park district is seeing almost across-the-board increases in program participation. Dance, preschool, soccer and aquatics numbers are all more than 20% higher than 2021 levels.

Day camps, which saw more than 2,000 children sign up this summer, experienced a 51% increase in numbers. Birthday parties are up 83%.

Centennial Beach's income was consistent with 2021 at $277,000, while memberships exceeded budget by $6,000. Revenue at the Fort Hill Activity Center has increased by 39% so far in 2022, and membership usage has risen 55% compared to last year.

"We're looking really good," Coates said. "I could have picked any program, for the most part, and showed similar type of numbers ahead of projections."

Despite construction at Naperbrook and Springbrook, golf revenue is 14% ahead of budget. Springbrook is closed for renovation, but the golf range remains popular, according to Golf Director Kevin Carlson.

The park district is scheduled to complete $12.7 million in capital improvements this year, highlighted by four renovated playgrounds and a new fitness court. Finance Director Sue Stanish said a carry-over of $400,000 will be used in 2023 to pay for deferred vehicle purchases.

As park district officials look ahead to 2023, Wilson anticipates continued growth in participation numbers and similar challenges.

"Our major facilities and our programs are performing very well," Wilson said. "Overall, we're in a very strong position financially as an organization."

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