Naperville City Council Accepts Jaycees Donation; Balks At Recognition

There hasn’t been one Naperville city council meeting this year, and the council’s pettiness is already on full display. While city council members stumble over each other for photo ops, and getting their names attached to anything and everything for voter awareness, they balk at allowing other groups and individuals the courtesy of recognition for good intentions.

Oh, they will hand out a plaque now and then at meetings, but when it comes to displaying names in public view showing appreciation for generosity, council members including John Krummen, Paul Hinterlong and Becky Obarski give a thumbs down.

Such is the case when the Naperville city council accepted a $200,000 donation from the Naperville Jaycees to help fund a Wi-Fi park next to the Naperville Municipal Center. The Jaycees donation covers about half of the projected $400,000 cost, in exchange for naming the park-project, Naperville Jaycees Smart Park, and including a plaque in public view naming current Jaycee directors and officers. Seems like a more than fair trade-off for $200,000.

Councilman Paul Hinterlong said, “You are a community service organization. It’s going on our property. I don’t want to see names on a plaque. It’s not your park, it’s a community park. You are a community partner; that’s the way it should be presented.”

What exactly does Hinterlong mean when he says, “it’s going on OUR property”. It’s not his property, it’s not the council’s property, it’s the property of the taxpayers. There Hinterlong goes again, mis-representing ownership.

While the Naperville city council nickels-and-dimes residents for all sorts of fees and fines, and squeezes hundreds if not thousands of dollars out of Naperville residents, property owners, and businesses, they have the audacity to jeopardize a $200,000 donation because of a few names on a plaque in public view.

Other lesser Jaycee requests that offended council members included:

  • Space to promote community events
  • Prominent participation in ground-breaking and ribbon cutting
  • Exclusive rights to sell brick pavers within the Smart Wi-Fi park
  • Funding opportunity for future park developments

The Jaycees would have had a much easier time obtaining city council approval if they would have offered a well-lit plaque with Naperville city council members’ names on it to be displayed in a prominent location within the park.

Show 5 Comments


  1. Jim Haselhorst

    As a long time Jaycee member and a person present at this council meeting I would like to say that the general membership was not aware that a plaque with the name of current organization leadership was added to the list of desired privileges attached to this donation. It was not part of what was approved at the general meeting were this donation was discussed and unanimously approved (again I attended this meeting, as well).

    In the past when the Jaycees have made such donations for community amenities like this no such plaque has been included, only a simple plaque identifying the Jaycees as an organization. Most of the comments by Councilman Hinterlong on this matter were spot on.

    In general the Jaycee membership, when they became aware of this plaque, became upset. Such a plaque is not in keeping with the traditions and practices of the Jaycees. For this reason it was quickly agreed that any plaque will only identify the Jaycees organization and not any individual members.

    The other Items mentioned in this post, and questioned by members of city council, have been cleared up. Some members of city council were simply not aware that these type of requests have been done with donations for other Naperville Parks by other organization and once they were made aware of these facts, dropped their objections.

    • Gerard H Schilling

      I thought the cutoff for membership in the Jaycees was 40. Are you 40 or under Jim?

      • Jim Haselhorst

        I am what is called a Rooster (person over 40). I can participate in Jaycee activities but I can not hold any of the elected officer positions with Jaycees or vote on items that come up for membership approval.

  2. Gerard H Schilling

    Why does the city need a Wi-Fi park in the first place is the question that should be asked? Everybody and their mothers have cell phones which can but don’t need free Wi-Fi. Every time our city gets something for free they double it and tax us more for pet projects like bell towers, museums, car test sites, exercise sites, golf courses, parking garages and the big one smart meters.

    Just for once these clowns should say no to matching funds nonsense and save all of us the additional taxes for unneeded projects.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The city is not paying for any of the cost for the Wi-Fi park. The construction and future maintenance costs are all being covered by private donors (already pledged) and it will be overseen by the Riverwalk Association, which is responsible for the rest of the Riverwalk, which includes Fredenhagen park. In fact there are a lot of city amenities paid for completely by private donations, Jaycee Marina, Exchange Fountain, Jaycee Gazeboo, etc that have not cost the city residents anything.

      Also the parking Garages are paid for by a SSA which the businesses in downtown Naperville agreed to since these garages benefit these businesses. This is also true of the car test site (paid for by Naperville car dealers) as well as the golf courses and exercises sites (paid for by use fees).

      While there have been decisions made for some of the city’s amenities that did not work out as planned most of the amenities on your list are not costing residential taxpayers anything.

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