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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Celebrate the inspiration of the Naperville Riverwalk every day


Above / Though it’s best to look up, visitors to the Riverwalk will find a stone marker that designates Naperville as a Walkable Community nestled in the landscape near the red Landforms sculpture at Eagle and Webster streets. Watch for the annual exhibit of beautiful tulips opening soon!

Any day is a good one to stroll the Riverwalk, taking time to reflect on the innovation and generosity that inspired the linear park in the heart of downtown Naperville, just steps from Naper Settlement and North Central College.

Perhaps start with a stop at the Civic Plaza for a quick history lesson about community spirit celebrated all along the Riverwalk. Find the gathering place along Jackson Avenue at Webster Street where it bubbles with the Dandelion Fountain every spring, summer and fall, weather permitting.

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Riverwalk-civic-plazaThe plaque reads that the “Civic Plaza was dedicated to the people of Naperville who have united in common purpose to construct this Riverwalk as a permanent memorial and commemoration of our city’s sesquicentennial, 1831-1981. The people are the harvest of our heritage and the seeds of our future. September 7, 1981.”

The plaque also lists members of the Naperville City Council who advanced the early development of the city’s natural treasure: Mayor Chester Rybicki and City Council members Robert Collon, James Newkirk, Joseph Phelan, Gerald Meyers, Joseph Nocco and Margaret Price.

And during this final week in March, the landscape along the winding brick path is beginning to bloom with colorful blossoms as well as other signs of another springtime.  The next couple of weeks welcome plenty to explore as the park embraces renewal and nesting ducks and geese.

Be mindful to teach youngsters to watch out for aggressiveness and messy droppings from ducks and geese. Thanks for letting wildlife find food naturally. Human snacks and breadcrumbs are harmful to the health of water fowl and other wildlife as well as their habitat. Help keep rivers clean.

Photo Gallery March 27, 2016 / Click any photo to enlarge.

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Enjoy every winding path from Jefferson to Hillside

After nearly 35 years, with support from the City of Naperville, the Naperville Park District, local visionairies and thousands of volunteer contributions, the Riverwalk extends along the DuPage River from the Jefferson Avenue Bridge to Fredenhagen Park to the Hillside Road Bridge through the heart of Naperville, also serving as a gateway to North Central College.

Find this stone marker nestled in the mulch near the red Landforms sculpture at Eagle Street.

And here’s a shout out to former Riverwalk Commissioner Cliff Preston who served as one of the volunteer commissioners during the major development of the path from 1987 until 2003, leading as chairman for the decade before he retired.

Everytime we happen upon this stone engraved with a message about Naperville’s being a “walkable community,” we remember the pride Chairman Preston expressed when he accepted the stone on behalf of all the volunteers and Riverwalk partners in our city.

Some folks might be unaware of the enormous undertaking that has involved thousands of volunteer hours and private contributions to carefully design, build and maintain our city’s natural treasure, a private/public partnership supported by the City of Naperville and maintained by the Naperville Park District.

The gift to the community keeps on giving and receiving, thanks to the attention of the 13-member Riverwalk Commission. Preston was followed in leadership by Rick Hitchcock, Jeff Havel, Bill Epp and now Geoff Roehll with representatives on board from Naperville, Riverwalk Foundation, and Millennium Carillon Foundation  as well as public officials and employees from both the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District.

Currently more than two miles of pathways jettison from the signature serpentine brick path that extends 1.75 miles from Jefferson to Hillside.

Today, the beautifully landscaped linear park serves as a centerpiece for paddle boat rides, concerts, art fairs, weddings, charity walks and fundraising festivals. Our city loves its outdoor activities. Get ready! Event season will be springing up soon.

Meanwhile, exercise your love for nature and enjoy the walk.

Note: The red Landforms sculpture created by artist Jack Arnold was a gift to the Riverwalk from the Naperville Art League in 1984. The iconic sculpture is located just steps from the Nichols Library as well as shopping and dining in downtown Naperville. The Riverwalk Fine Arts Fair, hosted by the Naperville Art League, returns every September.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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