ParkTalk Podcast
ParkTalk Blog
  • 630-848-5000
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Participation Guidelines. More information regarding the District’s response can be found here

Naperville Park District Honors Chuck Papanos and Carl Schnibben

Several months ago, two staff members of the Naperville Park District who are well known in the community announced their plans to retire from the District in April: Riverwalk and North Parks Operations Manager Chuck Papanos on April 17 and Park Police Chief Carl Schnibben on April 24.

Chuck Papanos came to the District on April 16, 2001 as a park specialist and within two years was promoted to Riverwalk and the North Parks operations manager, overseeing a variety of parks and facilities, including the Riverwalk, Rotary Hill, the Paddleboat Quarry, the Millennium Carillon, Centennial Beach, Nike Sports Complex, Central Park, Country Lakes Park, Seager Park and others.

Chuck represented the Park District on the Riverwalk Commission and worked with other community organizations in hosting three Healing Field of Honor events, the Last Fling, the Riverwalk Art Fair, the Sprint Triathlon, Duck Races and countless fundraising walks and special events.

Over the years, Chuck’s passion for the industry and the community we serve has resulted in much deserved recognition from community based organizations.  Chuck received the American Spirit Award from the Exchange Club of Naperville in 2016 and the Rotary Club of Naperville named Chuck a Paul Harris Fellow in 2018.  He was always willing to help others and take the lead in responding to challenges such as clearing heavy snowfall from the Riverwalk and recovering from flood events. Motivated by his love of the outdoors and desire to do something good in the community, Chuck has helped make the Riverwalk a place of beauty for everyone to enjoy.

Carl Schnibben began his tenure at the Park District on April 1, 2006 as a Park Police officer following a 37-year career in local law enforcement. He was promoted to Sergeant five months later and became Acting Chief of Park Police in August 2007. Carl has served as Chief of Park Police since February 2008.

As the Park Police Chief, Carl Schnibben oversaw a staff of approximately 20 part-time sworn police officers and the Park Service Officers Corps.  The Naperville Park Police patrol the parks year round, focusing on the busy spring, summer, and fall months with the mission of keeping patrons safe. Park Police also provide event security and maintain communications with the City of Naperville Police to enhance the community’s ability to respond in an emergency.

Under Chief Schnibben’s leadership, the Park Police have become well equipped and trained to assist other first responders in the area, participating in the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS). Additionally, Carl has spoken several times at the annual state-wide conference of park districts concerning public safety, free speech, and peaceful protests.  Park Police have expanded their ability to patrol trails with a small fleet of All Terrain Vehicles and bicycles. Chief Schnibben introduced a “Share the Trail” initiative in 2015 and a bicycle safety program with the City of Naperville Police Department in 2016.

 One of Carl’s passions is to help those in need, and he led the Park Police in a multi-year effort to raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Illinois through events like the Torch Run, Cop on a Rooftop and Texas Roadhouse luncheons. Each December, he coordinated a toy collection at Park District facilities to provide truckloads of new toys for children through the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

“Many people strive to leave an organization in a better place than it was when they arrived,” reflected Executive Director Ray McGury. “Chuck and Carl have accomplished that goal several times over. The reality is that the Naperville Park District is losing well over 70 years of collective leadership with these retirements but Chuck and Carl have laid the ground work for a seamless transition. New Naperville Park District leaders will step up and carry on both of these men’s traditions of great service every day.”

Chuck Papanos already is assisting Tom Stibbe to transition from his current role as a Park Specialist II for the South Parks Division to his new position as Riverwalk and North Parks Operations Manager, which he will assume when Chuck retires.

Ray McGury will serve as Acting Chief of Park Police until a new chief is hired.

For more background, photos and comments in tribute to Chuck Papanos and Carl Schnibben, read the ParkTalk blog posts at

Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like
the Naperville
Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities
contact Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at
Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Fee Assistance Program.
Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.

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.
© 2021 Naperville Park District