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Reviving the Pond at Brook Crossings

In some of the Naperville Park District’s parks, the pond takes center stage. People enjoy walking around it, sometimes fishing, observing the wildlife living there or just enjoying the view of the water. 

For example, the pond at May Watts Park is enjoyed by many park visitors.

The Pond at Brook Crossings
The pond at Brook Crossings, a 12-acre park at the corner of 95th Street and Plainfield-Naperville Road, originally was named Goose Lake and was deep enough to enhance the park and to function well as a retention basin, holding stormwater to prevent flooding.

The pond at Brook Crossings in 2002

Over the years, invasive alder trees multiplied along the shoreline. These trees have woody roots that allow the soil to erode around them at the edge of the pond. Over time, as the soil continues to wash away, the trees fall into the pond.

The pond at Brook Crossings in 2020; note tree growth around pond

The Problem
When Park District staff and consultants evaluated the pond at Brook Crossings in 2020, they found that the shoreline had extensive erosion, filling the pond with silt. It was so shallow that geese could not swim in the pond and had to walk on it. Additionally, the pond had lost some of its ability to hold stormwater, and the water quality was poor.
Tree roots eroding the shoreline, 2020

Geese walking in the middle of the pond, 2020

The Project
Restoring the pond involved several steps and an investment of time and funding. The Park District began the restoration process in summer 2021 by clearing the invasive alders along the south and east shoreline. The next step in the project was to remove the silt that had accumulated over the years and to find a location for the dredged soil.  The Park District was able to transport the soil to Frontier Sports Complex, where it was used to form a berm along the south side of the maintenance building near the Book Road entrance. The berm will be planted with native vegetation to provide habitat for pollinators.

The pond shoreline was then graded to create a gentle slope and planted with native plants. Unlike the woody roots of trees, the roots of these native plants create a deep, fibrous matrix to hold the soil in place. The root system also absorbs pollutants from stormwater runoff before it enters the pond, protecting the water quality of the pond. Shoreline restoration will continue in 2023 with shoreline work on the west side of the pond.

Shoreline restoration, 2021

A Healthy Future
The 2021 dredging project increased the depth of the pond by 6 feet, creating a healthier environment for fish and amphibians and restoring the full size and beauty of the pond. The native plants along the shoreline will improve water quality by reducing the amount of silt filling the pond. The deeper pond will be able to retain more stormwater, helping to prevent flooding, as designed. 

Brook Crossings includes a trail on the east side of the park, connecting to sidewalks and open space to the west of the pond, so that residents can walk alongside it, enjoying the natural setting, even on a busy corner. 

The pond at Brook Crossings, 2021

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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.
© 2021 Naperville Park District