Naperville park board still unsure about moving July Fourth fireworks to Knoch Park

  • Organizers of The Naperville Salute want to move the July Fourth fireworks display from Frontier Sports Complex to Knoch Park.

      Organizers of The Naperville Salute want to move the July Fourth fireworks display from Frontier Sports Complex to Knoch Park. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/29/2022 5:47 PM

Naperville Park District board members remain on the fence about a request from organizers of the Naperville Salute to move the July Fourth fireworks from Frontier Sports Complex to Knoch Park.

While some commissioners said they'd consider supporting the shift if the other involved stakeholders backed it, board President Marie Todd continued to express doubt about the logistic ability of organizers from Naperville Responds for Veterans to move thousands of visitors in and out of the Knoch Park area.

 

Park district Executive Director Brad Wilson provided an update at Thursday's board meeting. While a three-year agreement was reached in 2021 with the veterans group, each year the board must agree to an amendment on the dates and location.

Like last year, the Naperville Salute will be held at Rotary Hill. This year, it will be expanded to four from three days and take place from July 1 through the Fourth.

The location of the fireworks display, which will be on July 3, is a lingering issue.

"There's quite a few logistics that still need to be worked out," Wilson said.

Organizer Adam Clemen spoke about the need to move the fireworks closer to Rotary Hill because of the distance to Frontier Sports Complex and the difficulty in staffing two separate locations. He said transportation of visitors would work similarly to that at Ribfest, where shuttle buses went back and forth between Knoch Park and remote parking lots.

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Todd, however, disagreed with the notion that so many people could be transported easily before and after the fireworks display.

"In this particular case, it seems to me that the majority of people are going to come at the same time and are all going to want to be there, say, an hour before," Todd said. "You're going to have to have many, many buses. Not just one little bus running from the parking lot."

Wilson said numerous entities, including the city, still need to agree with moving the fireworks to Knoch Park. Naperville Unit District 203 leases the land, and Edward Hospital must maintain sufficient access to roads and parking. The Naperville Cemetery Association also needs to allow fallout from the fireworks to land on its nearby property.

An amendment, Wilson said, will be brought before the board for approval at its May meeting.

"As part of the amendment ... we have drafted that if for some reason the approvals were not received from all of the organizations, the fireworks could take place at Frontier Sports Complex again," Wilson said.

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