Gift From Edward-Elmhurst Health, State Funding Will Support South Gateway Connecting Edward Hospital Campus with River Frontage
NAPERVILLE, Ill. — The planned Riverwalk South Gateway extension to the Naperville Riverwalk will break ground in 2024 thanks to a $700,000 gift from Edward-Elmhurst Health and $800,000 in state funding. State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr requested money for the project in the 2024 budget, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed June 7.
Once complete, this new segment of the Riverwalk will allow residents and visitors to stroll from the Edward Hospital campus near Martin Avenue to downtown Naperville on the Riverwalk. The South Gateway is one part of the Naperville Riverwalk 2031 Master Plan, which includes multiple projects that honor Naperville’s past and propel the Riverwalk forward in honor of its 50th anniversary in 2031. The Riverwalk Commission is currently examining layouts for the South Gateway extension before making a final recommendation.
“Naperville’s Riverwalk is known as its crown jewel for good reason,” says Naperville Mayor Scott A. Wehrli. “It’s long been a community destination to spend time with family and friends, to take a walk outside, get some exercise or simply relax. We are grateful to Edward-Elmhurst Health for investing in this well-loved Naperville amenity, and to Rep. Yang Rohr for putting the Riverwalk expansion forward as a priority for state funding. This support will allow us to enhance the Riverwalk for future generations.”
Yvette Saba, President of Edward Hospital, says, “We’re honored to contribute to the South Gateway extension of the Riverwalk and to work with the City and Rep. Yang Rohr to enhance what is already one of Naperville’s prime attractions. The Riverwalk is perfectly aligned with our Healthy Driven message for the community. It’s proven that being outdoors in a setting like the Riverwalk is beneficial to mental and physical health.”
Rep. Yang Rohr adds, “Naperville has much to offer residents and visitors alike, and building up our infrastructure is critical to attracting people to the downtown and Riverwalk area. By addressing pedestrian and cyclist safety through targeted improvements along this section of the Riverwalk, we're making important connections between our community's local businesses, world-class health care, outdoor recreation, and the many things that make Naperville a great place to live, work and visit.”
The 1.8-acre segment slated for improvement is located between Washington Street and the west branch of the DuPage River, from Hillside Road to Martin Avenue. The land offers river frontage, a convenient location on Washington Street, proximity to the Edward Hospital campus, and the opportunity to connect to Park District sites along Martin Avenue.
The new South Gateway will allow pedestrians to stroll a spacious Riverwalk path connecting the Edward Hospital campus near Martin Avenue with the park and river area via a new signature pedestrian bridge/gateway feature over the existing tributary outlet. The route continues to Hillside Road, which will connect to an enhanced Hillside Road Gateway. The South Gateway adheres to Riverwalk Master Plan 2031 criteria, including design and construction standards that are attractive, as well as sustainable, accessible and fiscally prudent.
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