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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Discover where Naperville Riverwalk is flowering as winter wraps up


Above / Since 1981, the Naperville Riverwalk has provided a natural setting to pause and reflect about this community’s can-do spirit. Viewed from the base of Rotary Hill, the former Netzley House is now the Visitors Center with seasonal hours providing the history of the 160-ft. Moser Tower with its 72-bell “Millennium Carillon.” (Check out the yellow flowers along the fence, just below the picture window!)

The Farmers Plaza at Eagle Street near the Cliff Preston Tribute is a good place to pause and reflect about this community’s can-do spirit whenever a trek of the linear park along the DuPage River is planned.

The Farmers Plaza at Eagle Street overlooks a fishing pier with a clear view of Moser Tower, the Jaycees Marina and Gregory Gazebo.

Considering that spring is just around the bend, flowers that bloom as winter wraps up always are a surprise and welcoming sight. Be sure to look for their tiny buds.

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The Tribute to Cliff Preston, a former Riverwalk Commissioner, comes with a variety of meaningful messages from a dedicated Naperville resident who often said, “Something worth doing is worth doing right.”

After noting the pioneer families who helped settle this farming community in the 19th and 20th centuries, head west up Rotary Hill and toward the Netzley quarry where the iconic Moser Tower stands 16 stories tall. 

Though sunbeams brighten the bed of Winter Aconite near the Netzley house, the yellow flowers were not fully open during an early morning visit.

Then venture over the footbridge and follow the winding path beyond Centennial Park, the Jaycees Playground and Grand Pavilion. Just off the Riverwalk serpentine brick path, find Sindt Woods, one of many outdoor spaces where faithful Riverwalk users find flowers blossoming in cold weather. Early on March 11, 2021, the sun was shining through the trees and the temperature was 44 degrees.

Walk through Sindt Woods where a bed of yellow and white wildflowers welcome visitors to enjoy the community’s pride and joy with just days remaining until the vernal equinox on March 20, 2021. 

Resembling a yellow buttercup in color, perennial Winter Aconite (Eranthis) returns annually in the woodland habitats along the Riverwalk, spreading out under the trees. The cheerful yellow buds thrive on sun, opening fully only when the sun shines.

Clumps of snowdrops delight!

Dainty, delicate and dangling, snowdrops (Galanthus) again are basking in the sunshine with their white bell-like blooms. 

Sindt Woods is a showcase of winter work accomplished by busy beavers and the Naperville Park District.

Signs of beaver activity are along the serpentine brick path where it winds around the curve near the pond in Sindt Woods. Keep walking to note the beaver’s distinctive “pencil point-type” of gnaw on downed tree trunks here and there.

Remember! Geese become aggressive during spring mating season. Up close, they’re taller than you think. Stay clear!

Morning walks among nature are best when filled with sunshine, thoughts of using commonsense and taking precautions to stay healthy. And, of course, let wildlife be wild by never feeding them breadcrumbs or other human snacks. Ducks and geese are capable of finding nutritious food naturally.

From the Main Street Bridge all along the DuPage River to the Jefferson Avenue Bridge, we were mindful of the risk-taking character of citizens in Naperville, Illinois, in the United States of America. Their can-do volunteer spirit, much of which was learned from dedicated folks who since the 1980s have designed and built the Riverwalk, is showcased in the heart of downtown Naperville.

Find plenty of historic references all along the Riverwalk that help tell the story of this vibrant community settled in 1831 along the DuPage River. “Riverwalk Visionaries,” a Century Walk sculpture, depicts businessman Jim Moser and Mayor Chet Rybicki with plans by Charles Vincent George to design and build the city’s pride and joy in the heart of the central business district. Just steps west from this sculpture is a large granite monument with names of all the early donors, private and public, that made the Riverwalk a reality for the City’s sesquicentennial in 1981.

For 2021, the Rotary Sunrise St. Paddy’s Day 5K is a 31-day virtual event; yet, the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled with a focus on caution. Still, many Downtown Naperville restaurants are open, including Catch 35 for its Fish on Friday and Quigley’s Irish Pub where fish and chips go well with a beverage. Sláinte!

Use good judgement. Come downtown if you’re in good health with plans to celebrate safely.

Find crocus flowers leading the way with other early spring bloomers near the Paddleboat Quarry at Rotary Hill.

A year ago, PN joined forces in the community to help educate regarding local protocols for public safety during the pandemic. For instance, wash your hands with soap and water for twenty seconds. Some folks mark the time while they wash by singing “Happy Birthday.” Cover coughs and sneezes. Be a good example for young ones who might be watching. Help everyone around you feel safe. Eat nourishing food. Drink plenty of liquids. Enjoy the great outdoors to take in Vitamin D. Though it’s not always easy with so many divergent opinions, stick to the facts.

Generous gifts to the Riverwalk are present throughout the winding linear park. Here the Gregory Gazebo with its fishing pier overlooks the Jaycees Marina where paddleboats are popular seasonal attraction. Note the view of the Municipal Center in the distance and yellow forsythia in the foreground. That tall spire tops Ss. Peter & Paul Church way on the other side of downtown Naperville.

Again, stay informed, keep calm, remain focused on important responsibilities, and use commonsense in the best interests of good health and safety for the community every step of the way.

Thanks to Naperville Park District crews and everybody who help keep the Riverwalk beautiful.

—Your Friends of the Riverwalk at Positively Naperville

One more thing… Remember Daylight Saving Time begins at 2AM Sun., March 14, 2021. Be sure all clocks and watches are set forward one hour before going to bed in order to wake up on time!

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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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