Indoor Recreation Space Needs Assessment


Indoor Recreation Space Survey Available July 11-26

The Naperville Park District is conducting a survey this summer to gather feedback on indoor recreation space needs. Randomly selected households received postcards in the mail with instructions to take the survey in early June. For the next step, the Naperville Park District is inviting the entire community to complete the same survey on the Park District’s website from Thursday, July 11 to Friday, July 26.

This survey is a part of the Naperville Park District’s ongoing indoor recreation space needs assessment. The main goal of this assessment is to create a detailed plan based on community need for and support of additional indoor recreation amenities. Once completed, the final plan will guide the District in meeting the indoor recreation space needs of the community.

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Introduction

The Naperville Park District is conducting a needs assessment for indoor recreation space in 2024. The goal of this initiative, which will span spring through fall, is to develop a detailed plan based on community need for and support of further indoor recreation amenities. Once completed, the assessment will guide the District in meeting the recreation needs of the community while assisting the Park Board of Commissioners and staff to determine the District's current and future direction regarding indoor space. The goals of the project include:

  • Assist the Park District to determine and prioritize where to invest its resources for current and future indoor space
  • Evaluate the agency's current indoor recreation space inventory and utilization as it relates to key District documents and survey data
  • Assist in creating baselines for peak facility use, capacities, hours of operations, etc.
  • Identify gaps and inefficiencies with current indoor facility use and make recommendations
  • Identify gaps between current indoor facility inventory and the space needed to address current needs and future growth
  • Identify types and sizes of indoor spaces needed to address current needs and future growth in addition to estimated construction costs
  • Assist the District in confirming community interest and need for future indoor space
  • Formulate a plan with recommendations for future indoor space based on multiple data sources  

Background on the Naperville Park District

Created in 1966, the Naperville Park District is an independent municipal agency that serves the recreation needs of its residents. With a mission to provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community, the District maintains and operates more than 2,400 acres with 138 parks and facilities. Additionally, the District provides 7,500+ recreational classes, teams, events, and performances annually for a population of nearly 150,000 residents. Included within the District's operations are two championship golf courses, a multitude of playgrounds, trails, athletic courts, and sports fields, two inline skating and skateboarding facilities, the Millennium Carillon, the Paddleboat Quarry, historic Centennial Beach, Knoch Knolls Nature Center, Fort Hill Activity Center, the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center and the Naperville Riverwalk. The Park District is an accredited agency through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) with the National Recreation and Park Agency (NRPA).  

Why Is a Needs Assessment Necessary?

While the Naperville Park District built and opened the Fort Hill Activity Center in 2016, it filled to near capacity in many respects in less than eight years. Additionally, post-pandemic, the District has seen a tremendous increase in participation in many of its indoor programs, leading to challenges in accommodating everyone who wants to participate. Just two examples of indoor programs that are filled with wait lists each season include Naperville Youth Basketball and gymnastics. Also, memberships to Fort Hill Fitness – an 8,500 square foot fitness facility inside the Fort Hill Activity Center – are at an unprecedented level, with nearly 8,000 members.  

It's important to note that in addition to having some of its own indoor recreation space, the District has leveraged partnerships in the community including both Naperville school districts and other private community organizations to identify additional programmable space, in addition to operating out of leased space, but accommodating the demonstrated need by community members for Park District recreation programs and services remains a challenge.  

A needs assessment will provide the District with a comprehensive and objective evaluation of its current spaces and ensure efficient facility utilization throughout the parks system.  In addition, the assessment will assist with gathering community input and assessing the level of support for the potential planning and construction of future indoor spaces to adequately serve the recreation needs of a still expanding community.  

Community Input Process

In partnership with Williams Architects, the Naperville Park District will conduct the needs assessment and develop the subsequent plan. Throughout the process, community input will be essential, which will occur via focus group sessions, stakeholder interviews, and community surveys – both a statistically-valid survey and a community wide feedback survey will be opportunities for residents to provide their ideas. Additionally, open house events to view and comment on draft ideas will be hosted for the public. Residents will be made aware of these opportunities through various Naperville Park District communication channels either directly (for those who are signed up to receive Park District emails) or more generally (by communications disseminated through media channels).

Focus Groups - March and April 2024

Developing a solid and comprehensive plan for this project relies on soliciting input from our community members. In early March, the Park District asked for residents to indicate their interest in participating in a focus group to provide their thoughts and ideas regarding possible future indoor space. We received a tremendous response to fill sessions scheduled for Wednesday, March 20 and Wednesday, April 3. Input received will assist the staff and board as they move through the process to develop the indoor space needs assessment to guide the future direction of the organization.  

Indoor Recreation Space Needs Assessment Open House Events

As part of the ongoing indoor recreation space needs assessment taking place this year, the Park District conducted a series of open house events to learn more about the types of indoor recreation spaces and programs that residents would like to see the District provide in the future. The open house events occurred on June 2, 2024 at the Frontier Sports Complex Kite Fly and on June 11, 2024 at the Fort Hill Activity Center.  

Additional opportunities to receive resident feedback will also occur later this summer via a community survey.

Proposed Project Schedule

The following tentative schedule highlights key aspects in the facility recreation space needs assessment process. Please note that plans and timeframes are subject to change:  

  • February 2024
    • Data Inventory and Analysis
  • March 2024
    • Identification of Gaps and Inefficiencies
  •  March/April 2024
    • Begin Community Engagement Process via Focus Group
      • Wednesday, March 20 (various times)
      • Wednesday, April 3 (various times)
  • June 2024
    • Community Open House #1 (Sunday, June 2, Frontier Sports Complex) and Community Open House #2 (Tuesday, June 11, Fort Hill Activity Center)
  • June/July 2024
    • Community Surveys (both random/statistically valid and community-wide surveys will be deployed)
  • August 2024
    • Formulate Report
  • September 2024
    • Present Findings and Report to Park Board of Commissioners

Naperville Park District Key Organizational Documents  

The Naperville Park District operates with the guidance of several important plans that are updated on a regular basis. These plans will be reviewed and referenced in conjunction with the formulation of the Indoor Recreation Space Needs Assessment.  See below to access these plans.    

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Naperville Park District conducting an indoor space needs assessment now?
Based on community input received from the 2022 Community Interest & Opinion Survey, additional indoor recreation space to provide community programs, activities, and services was identified as a need.  Additionally, post-pandemic, the District has seen a tremendous increase in participation in many of its indoor programs. This needs assessment will provide the District with a comprehensive and objective evaluation of its current spaces to ensure efficient facility utilization throughout the organization. In addition, the assessment will assist with gathering community input and assessing the level of support for the potential planning and construction of future indoor spaces to adequately serve the recreation needs of a still-expanding community. The goal of this initiative, as part of the 2023-2025 Naperville Park District Strategic Plan, which will span spring through fall 2024, is to develop a detailed plan based on community need for and support of further Naperville Park District indoor recreation space.  

What types of recreation spaces are being assessed?  
Park District staff and board are seeking community input through this process that will help them determine what kinds of spaces are needed and supported by the community. Fort Hill Activity Center, which opened in 2016, is filled to near capacity in many respects, leading to challenges in accommodating everyone who wants to participate.  A goal of the assessment is to identify the types of indoor spaces needed to address current needs and future growth.

How will recommendations made by residents, community leaders and others throughout this process be considered by the Park District?The District is soliciting feedback from the community in a variety of ways. A series of 8 focus groups is being conducted in March and April. In spring and summer, the District will host community open house events, and a community survey will be launched in the summer to provide several feedback opportunities.  The recommendations from residents, community leaders and others, along with information from existing programs and facility use, will help to develop the most comprehensive plan and direction regarding potential future indoor recreation space.  

Does the Park District plan to propose a bond referendum for development of indoor recreation space?
There are currently no plans for the Naperville Park District to propose a bond referendum.  The Park District is asking residents in the community survey to provide input on a bond referendum for the purpose of understanding the community's interest to financially support the addition of indoor recreation space, and to be transparent about how we gather data to inform future planning and decisions.  Results from the survey will provide key input to help develop recommendations within the Indoor Recreation Space Needs Assessment.  A summary of the survey results will be available on the Naperville Park District website when the project is completed later this year.  

How can residents provide input on this initiative?  
Residents can provide their input by participating in focus groups, attending open house events, and participating in a community survey. Information on upcoming community input opportunities will continue to be communicated to residents via email, on the District's website, social media platforms, and through use of other media.  

What is the project timeline and next steps?  
The following proposed project schedule highlights key steps in the indoor space needs assessment process:

  • February 2024: Data Inventory and Analysis
  • March 2024: Identification of Gaps and Inefficiencies
  • March/April 2024: Begin Community Engagement Process via Focus Group (Wed., March 20 (various times); Wed., April 3 (various times)
  • June 2024: Community Open House #1  (Sunday, June 2, Frontier Sports Complex) and Community Open House #2 (Tuesday, June 11, Fort Hill Activity Center)
  • June/July 2024: Community Surveys (both random/statistically valid and community-wide surveys will be deployed)
  • August 2024: Formulate Report
  • September 2024: Present Findings and Report to Park Board of Commissioners