A Smart Park For The People, But Maybe Not Available To The People

Naperville city officials have a knack for getting the good folks of Naperville to buy-into an idea, but then changing the original buy-in idea. You have to give city officials a lot of credit for continuing to play games with the residents of Naperville. It’s so easy for them to tell us one thing, and then do the opposite later. It appears they must have a lot of fun doing it, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it.

This time it involves the much anticipated Smart Park which will be built adjacent to the Naperville Municipal Center. It’s being presented as a really cool place for people to use the park, including children for outdoor classroom activities.

Watch and listen as councilman Bernie White asks if any consideration has been given to possibly renting out the grounds:

That’s a good question. Let’s get it out in the open so there are no unwanted surprises, right?

Now listen to Naperville city manager Doug Krieger respond:

He said ‘that’s a new idea’, as if this hasn’t been discussed. His wording is interesting. He said, “at this time” staff wouldn’t recommend it. How does he know that, if this is a ‘new idea’? And if staff wouldn’t recommend it “at this time”, how about a week after the park opens.

He goes on to say, “the intention would be to make it available to any and all users”. The key word is ‘intention’. Intentions can cause all sorts of problems. Didn’t the good folks of Naperville hear this same thing when a different group of Naperville city officials were selling us the idea of building a new municipal center, when they said meeting rooms could be used without cost (no rental charge) to residents (taxpayers) and groups in Naperville. Then this group of city officials decided to rent meeting rooms by squeezing residents and small groups for cash.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing of Krieger would say, “Listen, we are trying to sell you something that’s not true. We can’t cover our expenses for having the park, and even if we could, we want more revenue (cash) for other unnecessary things we want. Of course we are going to rent the park and if a resident wants to see the park, they can go into the Municipal building and look out the window at the park.” The other option would be for city officials to install a toll booth for getting into the park, and then another toll both to get out of it.

Show 11 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    This will be another total boondoggle just like so many others this town has become famous for like the Bell Tower, Children’s Museum, Car Test Track, Electric Car Charging Stations, Smart Meters, Grass to Gas Conversion Plant, Recycling Center etc.

    Sure there are many more but folks get the point. This council as well as past ones have never seen a wasteful project to spend our hard earned money on that they will refuse. It’s like turning kids loose in a candy shop.

    Buyers and tax payers beware the wolves are again at our door.

  2. Julie Berkowicz

    It will be Naperville’s own Pritzker Pavilion! Usually, at Millennium Park, the only time you can visit or walk the whole park/pavilion is during the cold winter months when no one wants to be sitting out in the awful weather and wind. Otherwise, it’s rented during the most popular months. But in Naperville, they can be creative and add heating elements to solve the weather problem in our community Wi-Fi park! don’t count the $$$$$…

  3. rich

    It seems to me a nutty idea. A park with USB charging stations and Wi-Fi?

    Nobody comes to Illinois for the weather. We go from sleet and snow straight into tornado season. Illinois is not an outdoor state. My most optimistic guess would be the park would be usable on at most 40 days a year.

    And how is all that weather going to affect the electronic infrastructure?

    • Jim

      Based on the “fact” as you presented them this would hold true of any Park in Naperville. So why build any of them in the first place?

  4. Jim

    This park is being funded by private donations not city funds (like with city hall). It is inherit in the agreement with the people donating these funds that this park would be open 24-7 to any and all citizens of Naperville. Does the city rent out the Jaycee Marina exclusively to groups?

    As to Doug’s remark about it being a new idea and then saying staff would not recommend it, that is easily understood. Doug is head of city staff and if something comes to city council that he thinks is a bad idea, he does not need to call a staff meeting and have a brain storming session he can simply say “staff would not recommend it” because he has the ultimate authority to veto any staff recommendation if he is not convinced it is a good idea, no matter how “staff” feels about it. That is why he is paid the big buck, to make these type of calls.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Actually in addition to a few contributions the park is being funded by $20k of Jaycee’s SECA funds for the next 10 years. A 10 year, interest free loan from the City.

      • Jim

        The SECA funds the Jaycee’s receive are spent paying for city services (Public Works, police, fire,etc) used during the Last Fling. The funds the Jaycees have committed to this park come from fund raising event held by the Jaycees through out the year, things like the up coming Lobster Day, Mardi Gras, Distinguished Service Award, etc and yes the Last Fling. There is also the donations the Jaycees will get from selling bricks in this park, something that has been done for decades to fund other projects and maintenance along the Riverwalk.

        The city has agreed to get the funding to construct this park thru bond issue which the Jaycees will pay back (not interest free), just as the city did with the Water Street developer for the downtown parking garage, the Downtown business owners for the two parking decks downtown, the Riverwalk and a myriad of other public/private ventures the city has engaged in to improve the amenities and quality of life for residents in the roughly 25 years I have lived in this city.

  5. Concerned Citizen

    Fine, build a park. It certainly does not need to be smart. No person or company is going to move to Naperville because of this smart park. I am guessing the charging ports will be broken several times a year at which point they will need to add security camera’s at an additional cost. It is a pet project, that the Mayor approached the Jaycee’s about funding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *