Naperville Park District's 95th Street Community Plaza receives state award

  • Naperville Park District's 95th Street Community Plaza, which opened last summer, features a storybook-themed playground with custom-designed play pieces of popular stories in children's literature.

    Naperville Park District's 95th Street Community Plaza, which opened last summer, features a storybook-themed playground with custom-designed play pieces of popular stories in children's literature. Courtesy of Naperville Park District

 
 
Updated 1/28/2021 5:58 PM

On Jan. 28, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association announced at its annual conference that Naperville Park District's 95th Street Community Plaza won the Outstanding Park Award for Division II, which includes Illinois park districts with operating budgets of $5 million or more.

The 95th Street Community Plaza opened in summer 2020, providing a pedestrian-friendly gathering space, the district's first splash pad, a storybook-themed playground, the Wagner Family Pavilion, a lawn for activities and performance seating, restrooms and walkways.

 

Located at the north end of Frontier Sports Complex adjacent to the 95th Street Library, across the street from the Kathryn Birkett Freshman Center and close to the commercial area along Route 59, the new plaza made use of vacant land to provide a gateway and outdoor recreation destination for this community campus. Outstanding features of the project included its degree of community involvement, the beauty and originality of its design, its environmental sustainability, and its impact on the community.

Launched by an idea from the Naperville Public Library and inspired by an architect's vision for a beautiful, distinctive and versatile space, the project included new and imaginative elements.

For example, the storybook-themed playground was custom designed with play pieces that remind children and parents of favorite stories in children's literature.

The project was grounded in a solid foundation of community input, master planning, and funding from Naperville's land cash dedication ordinance.

With this foundation in place, the Naperville Park District was able to be flexible and responsive to a community need and then marshal resources to meet that need in a new, creative way.

"We are honored to accept this award for the 95th Street Community Plaza," said Executive Director Ray McGury. "We were thrilled to see so many people enjoying this space last summer and are looking forward to being able to host many activities there in the future."

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