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A 50th Anniversary Salute to our Park Commissioners

Over the past 50 years, 44 Naperville citizens have stepped forward to lead the Naperville Park District as elected commissioners.  Beginning with 5 members, the Board later expanded to 7 members as the community grew. 

First Board of Park Commissioners, photo from 1970.

Park commissioners serve as volunteers, with no compensation or insurance benefits, and are elected for 4-year terms.  They are motivated by a desire to ensure great parks and recreation for the community at a great value for taxpayers. 

 

2016 Park Board and Executive Director:(L to R) Vice President Mike Reilly, President Rich Janor, Jim Ensign, Marie Todd, Gerry Heide, Kirsten Young, Bill Eagan and Executive Director Ray McGury

The newest Park Board member, Jim Ensign, was elected in 2015. The longest serving commissioner, Ron Ory, was honored in 2015 for his 20 years of service on the Board, and continues to volunteer as a Master Gardener at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots on West Street.

On Monday, September 5, 2016, past commissioners were invited to join the current Board and staff to help lead the 2016 Last Fling Parade. (The Naperville Jaycees selected the Naperville Park District as Grand Marshal of the parade in honor of the District’s 50th anniversary.)  A special thanks to past commissioners Mary Lou Wehrli, Mary Wright, Ron Ory and Suzanne Hart and to past executive directors Walter Johnson and Glen Ekey for participating in the parade.

 

Naperville Park District commissioners and staff pose with Governor Rauner prior to the start of the parade

 

 

Commissioners and staff ready for the start of the parade

 

The parade begins

 

Cheering for the Park District

A friendly wave from Marge Wehrli Walsh (third from left), first female lifeguard at Centennial Beach

The Wells Fargo horses and carriage follow the Park District 

Thank you, Jaycees, for the honor of leading the 2016 Last Fling Parade!

And on this occasion of the District’s 50th anniversary, we want to say thank you to our commissioners, past and present. Thank you for your leadership, time and effort in listening to residents and collaborating with staff to provide excellent parks and recreation for our community.

Commissioners Park, located at 3704 111th Street in southwest Naperville, was dedicated to all Naperville Park District commissioners in 2005 with a plaque on the wall of the large pavilion on the north side of the park.

Commissioners Park hosts the Junior Tour de Naperville each July as well as many games and events. Its trails, fitness stations, playground,and other amenities attract visitors throughout the year.

Here is a list of each Naperville Park District commissioner who has served our community between 1966 and 2016. 

Dr. Lester J. Schloerb

1966-1972

 

James P. Weeks

1989-1995, 1995-1996

Harold Cromer

1966-1969, 1969-1975

 

Court Kenaston

1993-1999

Dorothea Weigand

1966-1971, 1971-1977

 

Darlene Schluter

1995-1998

William C. Martin

1966-1973, 1973-1976

 

Tom Kruse

1995-2001

George Yenerich

1966-1971

 

Ronald R. Ory

1995-2007, 2007-2011, 2011-2015

Milton Stauffer

1971-1972

 

Sally Kirk

1997-2003

George Pilkenton

1972-1973

 

Mary Wright

1997-2003, 2003-2009

Dr. Robert Steunenberg

1972-1973, 1973-1979

 

Scott McKibbin

1999-2005

John Sauntry

1973-1979

 

Mary Lou Wehrli

1999-2005

Joseph Nocco

1975-1979

 

Steven A. Born

1999-2001, 2001-2007

William E. Young

1976-1977

 

Pamela B. Swafford

2001-2007

M. June Loomis

1977-1983

 

Kristen Jungles

2003-2009

Robert G. Funston

1977-1983, 1988-1995

 

Charles E. Brown

2005-2008

John S. Gensler

1979-1985

 

Marie L. Todd

2005-2011, 2011-2015, 2015-

James P. Nelson

1979-1985

 

Andrew Schaffner

2007-2011

Dean Davis

1979-1981, 1981-1987

 

Suzanne Hart

2007-2010

Robert J. Schillerstrom

1983-1987

 

Gerry Heide

2008, 2009-2013, 2013-

Thelma Fastner

1983-1989

 

Mike Reilly

2009-2013, 2013-

Donna M. Chavez

1985-1991, 1991-1997

 

Kirsten Young

2009-2013, 2013-

Michael R. McLean

1985-1988

 

Rich Janor

2011-2015, 2015-

Alfred Rubin

1987-1991, 1991-1997

 

Bill Eagan

2011-2013, 2013-

Charles L. Koch

1987-1993, 1991-1997

 

Jim Ensign

2015-

“I can assure you, public service is a stimulating, proud and lively enterprise. It is not just a way of life, it is a way to live fully.” Lee H. Hamilton

For more information about running for office in the 2017 Park Board elections, contact Jacki Stern at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Petition packets will be available for pickup at the Administration Building at 320 W. Jackson Ave. beginning September 16. Building hours are 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To learn more about the Park District’s history, view the 50th anniversary video by Naperville Community Television that was shown at the grand opening of the Fort Hill Activity Center.


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 sfontechia@napervilleparks.org.

Looking for an opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives while building a fun and dynamic career? Consider the Naperville Park District! It takes all kinds of skills, knowledge and talent to serve the recreation needs of the Naperville community. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, staying active, having fun and encouraging others to do the same, then check out our part-time and full-time career opportunities.

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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

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.

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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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