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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Jaycees contributions make a difference to Naperville Riverwalk


Above / On June 8, 2021, members of the Naperville Jaycees gathered briefly at the Riverwalk park that bears the service club’s name. The photo opportunity recognized that their $200,000 pledge had been “paid in full.” 

Above / During the recent photo op, Mayor Steve Chirico retold the story of Naperville Jaycees Park while recognizing the service club that had paid off its 10-year commitment in full within three years. Riverwalk Foundation Treasurer Arlene Bankemper confirmed the big check already is in the bank!

From the Jaycees Marina to Jaycees Park…

Focused on personal development through community service, the Naperville Jaycees were chartered here in the mid-1950s. Ever since, the “young persons” organization has been dedicated to philanthropy and volunteerism, committed to building Naperville’s future leaders.

Whether holiday food baskets, planning the annual Easter Egg Hunt, recognizing outstanding effort via their Distinguished Service Awards, hosting Lobster Days for Mother’s Day or putting on the four-day family festival Last Fling; the Naperville Jaycees volunteer time, help others and aim to make a difference in the community.

Almost since its inception, the Naperville Riverwalk has benefited from contributions from the Naperville Jaycees that have enhanced the community’s natural treasurer.

Above / Thanks to funds raised from the Jaycees Last Fling held over Labor Day weekend back in the 1980s, the first gift from the young service club to the Naperville Riverwalk was the Jaycees Marina in the Riverwalk Quarry. Many years later, the service club gave $25,000 in support of Moser Tower with the 72-bell Millennium Carillon.

Above / Find the Jaycees Marina with watercraft for rent along the Riverwalk at the base of Rotary Hill.

Jaycees Playground

In 1990, the Jaycees gave funds for the Jaycees Playground that was updated in 2006. Today the spacious handicapped accessible playground is scheduled to receive another renovation! Watch for it coming soon.

Above / Find the Jaycees Playground along the Riverwalk just beyond Centennial Park on the way toward the Grand Pavilion.

Jaycees Gazebo

Later the Jaycees supported the Riverwalk 2000 Campaign with $40,000 for the Jaycees Gazebo along the Riverwalk extension, the serpentine brick path that runs from the Washington Street Bridge over the Moser Covered Bridge to the Hillside Road Bridge.

Above / The Jaycees Gazebo has been the location of intimate weddings and other romantic events for 18 years. Back in September 2001, the Jaycees and Jaycees Roosters demonstrated good will by posing by the gazebo to be featured on the cover of the first issue of Positively Naperville. Thanks for the memorable keepsake!

Above / The Jaycees Gazebo is adjacent to Fredenhagen Park where the Exchange Club Memories Fountain is another tribute to dedicated community service.

Jaycees Park

In 2018, the Jaycees pledged a $200,000 gift to create the Naperville Jaycees Park in the northeast corner of the lawn of the Naperville Municipal Center alongside the pedestrian path that leads to the Webster Street Covered Bridge.

Now finished, the 12,500-sq. ft. park, which is free and open to the public, includes accessible and stepped entrances, permanent seating for 71 guests, 26 electrical outlets and two quick-charging stations. Free public WiFi is available throughout the park, and canopies and trellises provide sun protection. Eco-friendly amenities include permeable pavers and rain gardens.

In addition, 161 solar panels installed on the roof of the Municipal Center produce enough energy to power the park.

The “smart park” concept was introduced at Mayor Steve Chirico’s 2017 State of the City address following input from the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and community entrepreneurs to create a flexible workspace near Naperville’s downtown. More than $580,000 was pledged to the park’s construction and maintenance from community members and organizations, including the donation over 10 years from the Naperville Jaycees, who are the lead donor and namesake of the park. Recently that $200,000 lead gift was paid in full in less than three years.

Above / The Naperville Jaycees Park features outdoor WiFi and charging stations just steps from City Hall.

Thanks, Jaycees!

And then there’s PN’s favorite photo of Jaycees Park. On June 2, 2019, we took time to pause and reflect, mindful of the dedication and generosity that have created our city’s natural treasure in the heart of the central business district since 1981.

Thanks to all supporters of Jaycees Park along the Riverwalk! Come visit.

Commemorative bricks create conversations

BUY A BRICK! / Support Jaycees Park via Commemorative Bricks. Bricks make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, especially for appreciative folks who have just about everything!



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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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