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95th Street Community Plaza Receives State Award for Outstanding Park

On January 28, 2021, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) 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 unique 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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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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