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Park Meadow Project

Project Overview

In 2019 the Naperville Park District began a Park Meadow Initiative to improve its stewardship of parkland. This initiative involves converting turf grass to meadow in strategic areas in selected parks. The meadow areas will be planted with native wildflowers and low prairie grasses. The areas selected for conversion include stormwater detention sites and other areas that are frequently wet due to the topography of the site. The areas range in size from .10 acre to 1.25 acre. The Park District intends to new sites into 2021 and beyond, converting additonal acres into meadow each year in other parks across the District.

If you have questions about these projects, please contact Peggy Motta, Project Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 630-848-5013.

Project Locations (Click each park name to view map of project area)

2019 Projects

Century Farms Park, 715 Sigmund Road
Olesen Estates, 1415 Dunrobin Road
Wil-O-Way Park, 1408 W. Jefferson Avenue

Bailey Hobson Woods Park, 1184 Hobson Mill Drive
Buttonwood Park, 803 Buttonwood Circle
Willowgate Square, 408 Travelaire Avenue

Ashbury Greenway, 3475 Naperville Road
Brook Crossings, 1015 95th Street
Knoch Knolls Park, 320 Knoch Knolls Road

2020 Projects 

In August 2019 the Naperville Park District held its annual Capital Projects Open House, where residents learned about the improvements planned for 2020 and provided feedback.

Due to unforeseen circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the Park District shifted four of the six 2020 projects to the 2021 and 2022 budget years. See below for further detail.

Park Meadow Restoration projects at Stanford Meadows and Wil-O-Way Commons were completed in 2020. The work in these two parks was a collaboration with the City of Naperville. Their staff removed sediment in the stormwater detention basins. Next, the Park District seeded the disturbed areas. If you have any questions regarding the sediment removal work, please do not hesitate to contact the City of Naperville at (630) 420-6111.

Wil-O-Way Commons, 1071 W. Jefferson Avenue

Stanford Meadows, 1991 Stanford Drive


2021 Projects

Redfield Commons, 1324 Redfield Road.
Arrowhead Park, 711 Iroquois Avenue.

Springbrook Parkway, 2359 Nottingham Lane.


2022 Projects

Brighton Ridge Park, 775 Torrington Drive.


General Project Timeline for Each Location
Year 1 – Removal of turf and invasive plants, shrubs and trees in planting area; preparation of soil; seeding with native Illinois low prairie mix; planting of cover crop while prairie grows.
Years 2-5 – Monitoring and maintenance of meadow areas to ensure healthy growth.
Year 3 – By the end of the growing season, the native prairie plants are expected to be established, covering at least 60% of the entire area.

Before and After Photos
As an example, the Park District converted turf to meadow in a drainage swale at Century Farm Park. (Please note: the 2019 project at Century Farms Park expanded the meadow that was created earlier.)

“Before” view of turf in swale

“After” view of meadow in swale 

Park Meadow Project Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are these sites being selected for conversion from turf to meadow?

A:  These sites are being selected because they meet one or more of the following criteria:
•    Areas within parks that are difficult to maintain due to the seasonal presence of stormwater. These are areas that stay wet long enough to hinder maintenance and/or the growth of turf grass. Examples are detention basins, swales and ditches.
•    Locations where native plants would offer an ecological benefit of absorbing and filtering stormwater before it enters the citywide storm sewer system. These include areas adjacent to waterways and ponds, detention basins, and areas around inlets and swales that are tied into the sewer system.
•    Areas with environmental conditions that make them unable to grow turf grass.

Q:  Why not just leave the turf as it is?

A:  Converting turf to meadow brings environmental benefits for local rivers and streams, wildlife and soil. Native plants are better adapted to the local climate and have deeper, more extensive root systems than turf grass. Because of their extensive roots, native species absorb and filter stormwater, removing pollutants before the water enters the rivers and streams. These visually attractive plant communities also offer a variety of species that provide food and habitat for wildlife such as birds and butterflies. Additionally, long-term maintenance of a meadow with native plants will save both labor and material costs, requiring only occasional mowing and controlled burning, less watering and no fertilizing. Environmental benefits of less frequent mowing include energy savings and reduced pollution from gasoline.

Q:  What will the project sites look like during the next three years?

A:  The project will begin with clearing of existing turf and invasive plants in the area.Once seedlings sprout, low plants and grasses will lightly cover the area during the first growing season. The native plants gradually will fill in during the second and third years, with blooming flowers and a variety of grasses. See the “after” photo for an example.

Q:  Will residents still be able to use the park for recreation?

AThe areas of the park that remain landscaped with turf can continue to be used for a variety of active and passive recreation. Park meadow areas can be used for passive recreation, for example, children enjoy exploring natural areas and can watch insects and butterflies pollinate the flowers and learn how the plants change through the seasons. Children who do not participate in sports and those with special needs may especially appreciate interacting with nature in the park.

Q: How is this project related to the Park District’s core values, mission, goals and plans?

A:  This project promotes natural resource management, which is part of environmental stewardship, one of the Park District’s Core Values. The project also addresses one of the goals of the District’s 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, to “develop a long-term land management plan that is aligned with changing design and maintenance practices.” Additionally, the District’s Master Plan mentions converting turf to natural prairie on page 23 under Environmental Stewardship. Considering that natural areas with native plants help protect a healthy environment, this project advances the District’s mission to promote a healthy community.

For questions about any of the projects, contact Peggy Motta at 630-848-5013 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Additional Resources
Here is some additional information regarding the benefits of native plants:
•    Environmental Protection Agency – The importance of native plants
•    DuPage County Stormwater Ordinance
•    Illinois Native Plant Guide - Native Plant Applications for Streams and Stormwater Facilities 
•    Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Overview of the benefits and importance of native plants

Park Meadow in progress at Willowgate Square, early Fall 2019

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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.
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