A synthetic turf field, a softball field, pickleball courts and walking trails are among the new amenities aimed at expanding the use of Naperville’s Knoch Park by school athletes, park district participants and community members.

The upgrades were designed and completed over the last two years through a partnership between the park district and Naperville Unit District 203, both of which needed improved athletic fields in the area, said Brad Wilson, the park district’s director of recreation and facilities.

A grand reopening is scheduled for Sept. 17 to show off the renovated park at 724 S. West St., the former home of Naperville’s long-running Ribfest.

The first phase of Knoch Park improvements included the construction of a girls varsity softball field to be maintained and used primarily by Naperville Central High School, though a 20-year lease agreement with the park district also allows for some community use.

A shared multipurpose field with sports lighting was central to the project’s second phase, offering daylong and year-round availability for soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby and other programs, Wilson said. Created with synthetic turf to ensure its longevity, the field is now open for daytime drop-in use by small groups, he said. The lighting will be installed by mid-September.

The improvements were anticipated to cost $4.2 million but are trending “well under budget,” Wilson said, as the final price tag could come in under $3 million. The park district pledged to pay 57% of project costs, he said, while the school district would cover the remaining 43% based on a preliminary schedule for use of the field.

Picture Source: Courtesy of the Naperville Park District

SOURCE ( Lauren Rohr / Daily Herald )