Naperville Streetscape Plan Missing Skyscape

The current look of downtown Naperville didn’t magically appear by luck. The vision began in the late 1970’s. City officials at that time, subscribed to the philosophy, if you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it, and that was the framework for what we now know as downtown Naperville. Without a plan, Naperville would look like Schaumburg or Palatine; a hodgepodge of businesses and congestion. In fact, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, was the first gigantic shopping center built before the population was there to support it. Up until that time, population preceded large shopping centers. For trivia fans, the name of the shopping center came from the president of Sears (Wood) and the president of Marshall Field (Field), both stores being anchors for the center. Then came the chaos of massive growth without a plan, and driving through Schaumburg is an unwanted adventure.

The Naperville city council will be considering ideas for the future of Naperville’s downtown streetscape which would include lighting, seating options, planters, landscaping, sidewalk and street permeable pavers to better absorb water (similiar to the Arboretum parking lot), and signage among other things.

City officials are definitely thinking forward, but they are missing an opportunity by not thinking upward. If we are thinking about the future, then upward is where it’s at. Urban Outfitters Space Ninety 8 in Brooklyn, N.Y. is including a rooftop bar, as are an increasing number of retailers, in an effort to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience, while giving brick and mortar retailers a competitive edge against online shopping.

If there is one Naperville city council member who should be ecstatic about the concept, it would be Becky Anderson who has been giddy at times with the thought of ‘sticking it’ to online shopping. In fact, the entire Naperville council should be euphoric with the possibilities that roof top activities can provide to the city including more liquor sales, more tax revenue, more entertainment, more activities, more action, and more of everything.

Think of the possibilities:

  • Roof top bars, cafes, and dancing
  • Roof top musical entertainment
  • Zip lining between buildings from Water Street to Quigleys, Peanuts, and the Lantern
  • Rock climbing walls to get to the top
  • Repelling to get down to the bottom (for those who don’t want to zip line)
  • Roof top bowling, archery, and target shooting (Edward Hospital is just a short trip south)
  • Roof top observation; watching the chaos below unfold

The possibilities are endless. The sky is the limit.

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