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Park Meadow Project

Project Overview

In 2019 the Naperville Park District will begin a Park Meadow Project to improve its stewardship of parkland. This initiative involves converting turf grass to meadow in strategic areas in 9 of its 137 parks. The meadow areas will be planted with native wildflowers and low prairie grasses. The areas selected for conversion include stormwater detention sites and other areas that are occasionally wet and are not used for recreation. The areas range in size from .10 acre to 1.25 acre. The Park District intends to extend the project beyond 2019, converting a few more acres into meadow each year in other parks across the District.

Project Locations (Click each park name to view map of project area)

Century Farms Park, 715 Sigmund Road
Olesen Estates, 1415 Dunrobin Road
Wil-O-Way Park, 1408 W. Jefferson Avenue

Bailey Hobson Woods Park, 1184 Hobson Mill Drive
Buttonwood Park, 803 Buttonwood Circle
Willowgate Square, 408 Travelaire Avenue

Ashbury Greenway, 3475 Naperville Road
Brook Crossings, 1015 95th Street
Knoch Knolls Park, 320 Knoch Knolls Road

Project Timeline
2019 – Removal of turf and invasive plants, shrubs and trees in planting area; preparation of soil; seeding with native Illinois low prairie mix; planting of cover crop while prairie grows.
2020-2021 – Monitoring and maintenance of meadow areas to ensure healthy growth.
2021 – By the end of the growing season, the native prairie plants are expected to be established, covering at least 60% of the entire area.

Before and After Photos
As an example, the Park District converted turf to meadow in a drainage swale at Century Farm Park. (Please note: the 2019 project at Century Farms Park will expand the meadow that was created earlier.)

“Before” view of turf in swale

“After” view of meadow in swale 

Park Meadow Project Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are these sites being selected for conversion from turf to meadow?

A:  These sites collect stormwater and are not regularly used for recreation.

Q:  Why not just leave the turf as it is?

A:   Reasons for converting from turf to meadow include the following:

  • Replacing turf grass with plants native to Illinois will bring many environmental benefits for our local rivers and streams, area wildlife and soil. Native plants are better adapted to the local climate and have deeper, more extensive root systems than turf grass. Because of their extensive roots, native species absorb and filter stormwater, removing pollutants before the water enters the rivers and streams. These visually attractive plant communities also offer a variety of species that provide food and habitat for wildlife such as birds and butterflies.
  • Long-term maintenance of a meadow with native plants will save both labor and material costs, requiring only occasional mowing and controlled burning, less watering and no fertilizing.

Q:  What will the project sites look like during the next three years?

A:  The project will begin with clearing of existing turf and invasive plants in the area.Once seedlings sprout, low plants and grasses will lightly cover the area during the first growing season. The native plants gradually will fill in during the second and third years, with blooming flowers and a variety of grasses. See the “after” photo for an example.

Q: How is this project related to the Park District’s core values, mission, goals and plans?

A:  This project promotes natural resource management, which is part of environmental stewardship, one of the Park District’s Core Values. The project also addresses one of the goals of the District’s 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, to “develop a long-term land management plan that is aligned with changing design and maintenance practices.” Additionally, the District’s Master Plan mentions converting turf to natural prairie on page 23 under Environmental Stewardship. Considering that natural areas with native plants help protect a healthy environment, this project advances the District’s mission to promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.

For questions, contact Peggy Motta at 630-848-5013 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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.


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.

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.
© 2019 Naperville Park District