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Short Posts of Historic Facts and Events in Illinois

Published on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Naperville Parks - Recent Names

We are lucky to have a number of neighborhood parks and fields to enjoy. Park names refer to many aspects of the our city’s history. These four parks honor four figures from recent times.

A. George Pradel park was dedicated in 1999 on the south side of town. (The “A” stands for “Arthur,” as  he was named for his father.) Pradel served five terms as mayor, from 1995 until 2015, the longest service in our history.

In addition to mayor, Pradel also served as a Naperville police officer starting in 1966 and was Officer Friendly to many local kids when he became the first Safety Town teacher in 1977. Known now as “Mayor Emeritus,” Pradel is still active in our community.

Harris Fawell park is located near 75th Street and Route 59. It was also dedicated in 1999 to honor Fawell who served in the Illinois Senate from 1963 to 1977 and then in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1984 until 1999.

Fawell graduated from North Central College before pursuing his law degree and today his Congressional papers are held on campus. Now retired, Fawell still calls Naperville home.

The Bill Young athletic fields are on West Street near Central High School and are used for Park District and school athletic programs.

Young is an appropriate namesake since he served both as a Park District Commissioner and as Park District Police Chief. In addition, Young was also a dean and wrestling coach at the nearby high school. Young passed away in 2014 and the park honoring him was dedicated in 2016.

In the same area are the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, renamed in 2015. After 21 years in the Army, Ory retired and started working for the Park District’s golf courses where he learned about the garden plots and got interested in gardening.

His interest was serious enough to earn an associate degree from College of DuPage and then get certified by the University of Illinois Master Gardener program. In 2013, he was also certified as a Master Naturalist.

In addition to his own personal gardening, for several years Ory led the group who work the Master Gardener plots. The Master Gardners provide Loaves & Fishes with fresh produce every year for their clients. You might run into Ory if you stop by this park during the growing season!
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Author: Kate Gingold Host

Categories: Brief History

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