Free Speech Forum Rentals
The purpose of Free Speech Forums is to allow individuals or organizations a place to express their ideas and/or distribute written materials to the public that is not commercially motivated. The Riverwalk is not a public forum except within the designated Free Speech Forums. Section 2.26 of Ordinance #641 identifies the Park District regulations concerning use of the Riverwalk and free speech areas for Parades, Public Assemblies or Meetings. In order to ensure the fair use of the area by the public, the Naperville Park District has developed the following regulations:
- All activities at Free Speech Forums must be conducted in a fashion that will not violate the rights and privileges of other park users. For example, no speech event may block or impede the use of the Riverwalk by others. Further, these activities must be in accordance with Naperville Park District Ordinance #641, city, state and federal law.
- Application for use of a Free Speech Forum should be made 7 days prior to the requested use date. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Executive Director or designated staff. Requests may be submitted using our online form or by visiting the registration office at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center or the Fort Hill Activity Center during regular office hours. Applicants will be notified of the application status within 3 business days of receipt of the completed application.
- Approved use of a Free Speech Forum must be conducted within the confines of the Forum area at all times, and within the approved permit time. For example, activities permitted for the Free Speech Pavilion on the Riverwalk must be conducted within the confines of the structure.
- All written material or handouts to the public shall be distributed within the confines of the Free Speech Forum area.
- Users of Free Speech Forums shall not permanently alter or damage park property and shall restore the facility to its original state.
- Use of amplification devices must be in accordance with Naperville Park District and City of Naperville regulations.
- Individuals/Organizations with an approved permit are covered by the Naperville Park District amplification permit and do not need to obtain a permit from the City.
- Amplification may be used only between the hours of 12:00 pm (noon) and 8:00 pm Sunday through Thursday and between 12:00 pm (noon) and 10:00 pm Friday and Saturday.
- Unless otherwise approved, the use of a Free Speech Forum shall be no longer than 5 hours in length and must be within the normal hours of the park.
- The sponsoring individual/organization agrees to hold the Naperville Park District harmless against any and all suits of any manner, which may arise as a result of the activities by the sponsoring agent.
- The use of obscene, profane or vulgar language or gestures, or threats of violence or injury is prohibited.
- If the requested Free Speech Forum is not available, or if the gathering cannot fit within the confines of the forum area, the Park District will help to identify and reserve an alternate Free Speech Forum area. The following locations on the Riverwalk have been designated as Free Speech Forum areas: Free Speech Pavilion, Oliver Hoffman Shelter, Grand Pavilion, and Millennium Carillon Amphitheater.
How to Safely Organize a Free Speech Event in Naperville
For groups seeking to host a free speech event in Naperville, the Naperville Park District wants to help you plan for an organized and safe event. If a group desires to use the Riverwalk, there are four locations that can be reserved (via permit) for these types of events based on estimated group size. Our staff can help you identify and reserve the Free Speech Forum that keeps everyone safe, from those directly involved in your event to the general public outside of your event.
Free Speech Pavilion (also known as the Smykal Pavilion)
This is located on the Naperville Riverwalk near the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Webster Street.
- All event activities must be conducted within the confines of the pavilion structure, which measures 33’x39’
- This structure can safely accommodate 117 participants
- Speech activity cannot impede public use of the Riverwalk and therefore group size must be strictly controlled to remain within the designated area of the public forum.
Oliver Hoffman Pavilion
This is located on the Naperville Riverwalk just west of the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Eagle Street.
- All event activities must be conducted within the confines of the pavilion structure, which measures 30’x30’
- This structure can safely accommodate 81 participants
- Speech activity cannot impede public use of the Riverwalk and therefore group size must be strictly controlled to remain within the designated area of the public forum
This location is situated west of Centennial Beach and includes access to convenient parking. It can safely accommodate large groups.
- All event activities must be conducted within the pavilion structure and the grass area adjacent to the Grand Pavilion
- Speech activity cannot impede public use of the Riverwalk or the nearby roadway and parking lots
Millennium Carillon Amphitheatre
This location is just south of the Riverwalk and adjacent to it; it has the largest capacity of any of the Park District’s designated public forums for speech activity and there is adjacent parking.
- All event activities must be conducted within the Millennium Carillon Amphitheater and grass area of Rotary Hill
- Speech activity cannot occur on the adjacent Riverwalk itself nor can the speech activity impede the public’s use of the Riverwalk, use of the sidewalks and trails on the perimeter of Rotary Hill, access to and use of the Riverwalk Café, or access to and use of the Millennium Carillon structure.
All free speech events must obtain a permit through the Naperville Park District. You can find the application for such a permit by clicking on the Free Speech Forum Request button below.
For more information please contact a Customer Service Associate at 630-848-5000.