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New entrance signs part of Naperville beautification efforts

Signs of Naperville’s 2022 beautification initiative are popping up citywide.

The Department of Public Works was allocated $250,000 by the Naperville City Council this year to fund improvement projects that provide a sense of community pride and inclusiveness.

Most of the work is scheduled to be completed by December and includes:

  • new city entrance signs;
  • An expanded banner program;
  • Washington Street viaduct enhancements;
  • Mill Street viaduct screening;
  • From oven parkway improvements;
  • Traffic utility box covers;
  • Enhanced weed control along arterial roads.

Public Works staff have been swapping out metal “Welcome to Naperville” signs and adding landscaping at the entrances to the city on heavier traveled roads.

In a recent memorandum, Public Works Director Dick Dublinski said because many of the rights-of-way are owned by different government entities, staff is trying to coordinate the size of signs allowed.

In addition to the new signage, motorists traveling north on Route 59 are now greeted with a new LED-lit Naperville sign installed on top of the pedestrian footbridge north of 103rd Street.

Dublinski said letters are illuminated in blue but the color can be changed depending on the season or holiday, such as orange for Halloween.

The city’s banner program was expanded to include areas outside downtown.

Student-created designs chosen by the Naperville Art League were displayed along the 95th Street corridor in June, Dublinski said. The Washington Street corridor banners installed in April were part of the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion outreach to the community.

Naperville Salutes banners were installed in mid-May along Jefferson and Mill streets, along the Riverwalk and in Central Park at the bandshell.

A sign at the south entrance of the Springbrook Water Reclamation Center on Plainfield-Naperville Road welcomes motorists to Naperville and reminds them to drive safe when leaving the city.

The program will continue next year, and staff will contact other organizations to get input on content, Dublinski said.

Improvements to the Washington Street viaduct under the BNSF railroad tracks are planned for this fall.

The north side of the viaduct is to undergo a complete makeover with rock outcroppings, native plantings and colorful, hearty bushes, Dublinski said. A modern welcome to downtown sign will be included on the west side to replace the old sign and a large display area for holiday decorations or other displays will be incorporated into the design, he said.

As for Mill Street, Dublinski said a consultant was brought in to help design a safe aesthetic screen along the sidewalks on the viaduct’s east side to keep pedestrians using the tunnel from being sprayed with water or debris.

The work was to be finished before the start of the school year, but had to be pushed back until spring due to supply chain issues, he said.

Completed in the first week of August, the narrow sidewalk along Von Oven was replaced with a 6-foot grass parkway and a 8-foot asphalt path. A new fence replaced the one that had been there for more than 30 years, he said.

The city is working with area school districts to have students design coverings for the traffic utility boxes in city rights-of-way, Dublinski said.

Boxes near schools have been identified as the first to get a makeover.

The Public Works Department also added funds to mowing and landscaping contracts to keep up with the weeds that grow along the curbs and gutters throughout town, Dublinski said.

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