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S25 Episode 02 – Driving a Cleaner, Greener Fleet



Lee Meyer, a fleet technician for the Naperville Park District, explains the latest improvements that make the District’s vehicles and equipment cleaner, greener, safer and more efficient. 

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quote from the episode:

About reducing the District’s carbon footprint:

“We have purchased a fully electric zero-turn (mower)…and we are going to order two more. We also have a plug-in hybrid to replace one of the park police squad cars. It uses a battery, which you have charged overnight, and then the engine is the backup, instead of being the other way around. So you will never be stranded. We also have 3 battery-operated snow blowers, and 8 electric string trimmers. We are completely eliminating carbon emissions with these machines.” – Lee Meyer

About the District’s tractor that runs on leftover vegetable oil:

“Reggie the Veggie tractor was a little pipe dream we had a few years back.  We trialed and errored with one of the older tractors in the fleet and we converted it to run on vegetable oil and diesel. We get the vegetable oil from the Riverwalk Café or the Beach (Centennial Grill) or whoever has extra.  It runs on diesel fuel when you start it, and engine coolant runs through the vegetable oil to heat it and thin it so it flows easily. Once it gets nice and thin and to the full temperature on the gauge, we flip a switch and it switches right over to vegetable oil and starts smelling like French fries and chicken nuggets.” - Lee Meyer

The Naperville Park District's Reggie the Veggie tractor makes a regular appearance at the Wonderful World of Wheels event each year, in addition to continuing its work in maintaining Park District fields.

Visit the District's Green Initiatives page for more information about the Park District's environmental sustainability practices.

Reggie the Veggie tractor parked at the Knoch Park Central Maintenance Facility ready for its work

One of the Park District's fully electric Mean Green zero turn mowers

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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