Developers of the recently approved Water Street hotel project have donated money to help fund a new park, which will built on the site of a former downtown eyesore.
Eyesore No More: Downtown Building Demolished
Marquette Companies has donated $7,500 to North Central College to begin the design process for a gateway park and campus entryway to be built at 420-430 S. Washington St., according to a press release.
The area will be named "The Park at 430" and sit just a few blocks east of the Water Street development.
“Since we share a vision for a pedestrian-friendly and picturesque downtown, we thought this would be a great way to help get the College’s vision for the park started. I think we all celebrated the removal of the old building on that site,” said Marquette Companies Managing Director Nick Ryan in the release. “This type of public-private partnership is what makes our community great. We are also excited to be adding a boardwalk and plaza to enhance the extension of the Riverwalk on the south bank of the river as the Water Street project is constructed.”
In December, North Central College announced plans to purchase the site, which was home to a vacant one-story commercial building.
Last year, City Manager Doug Krieger awarded a contract to demolish the building, which dated back to the 1930s, as well as release a $235,000 lien the city had placed on the property. A lien was imposed to cover property-maintenance fines that had been levied over the years after the property had been in foreclosure and vacated, according to North Central College.
The longtime vacant building was demolished Jan. 19.
The new park will complement other recent improvements North Central College has made like the Riverwalk Gateway, which connects the college and Riverwalk to Naperville’s Fredenhagen Park. The gateway is located northeast of the Washington Street bridge over the DuPage River.
A landscaped pedestrian path, known as the Sesquicentennial Walkway, runs through the heart of campus between Benton and Jefferson avenues.
The new park at 420-430 S. Washington St. will be located across the pedestrian Moser Bridge from the Riverwalk Gateway.
“Marquette has always been a supporter of North Central, from general funding to fine arts to academic programs,” said North Central College's Vice President of Institutional Advancement Rick Spencer in the release. “We were not surprised that they would step up again, as an example of how corporate citizens value the College as part of the community. That relationship is critical to us. The park project is really a cooperative venture between the college and the community, and we are so grateful that Marquette understands that and wants to play a part in getting it started.”
Plans for the Water Street development were approved April 2 by Naperville City Council. Marquette Companies launched a website detailing the development at www.waterstreetcommunityinfo.com.
The 2.4 acre, multi-use development will sit south of the Riverwalk between Main and Webster streets. It will hold a 166-room hotel, retail shops, restaurant, office space as well as a 524-space parking deck.
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