In a continuing sign that turnout numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels, Naperville Park District officials are forecasting revenue increases in many areas for 2022.
While noting that the Park District remains on a solid financial footing, Executive Director Brad Wilson also noted challenges that remain in maintaining appropriate staffing levels and addressing inflation and supply chain issues.
“The demands for our programs and facilities are as high as we’ve seen since many of us have been here,” Wilson said during a recent presentation to the park district board. “Our challenges are being able to provide the necessary personnel to meet these needs.”
The Park District has tried many strategies to attract and retain employees, including bonuses for new hires, community outreach, and advertising. Despite difficulties in filling key positions, most programs and activities have prospered so far this year.
Andrea Coates, director of recreation and facilities, told council members that the park district is seeing an almost general increase in program participation. Figures for dance, preschool, soccer and water sports are all more than 20% above 2021 levels.
Day camps, which saw more than 2,000 children register this summer, saw a 51% increase in their number. Birthday parties are up 83%.
Centennial Beach revenue was in line for 2021 at $277,000, while memberships were $6,000 over budget. Revenue at the Fort Hill hub has grown 39% so far in 2022, and member usage is up 55% over last year.
“We look really good,” Coates said. “I could have chosen any program, for the most part, and shown the same type of numbers before the screenings.”
Despite construction in Naperbrook and Springbrook, golf revenue is 14% above budget. Springbrook is closed for renovations, but the golf course remains popular, according to golf manager Kevin Carlson.
The Park District is set to complete $12.7 million in capital improvements this year, highlighted by four renovated playgrounds and a new fitness court. Chief Financial Officer Sue Stanish said a carryover of $400,000 will be used in 2023 to pay for deferred vehicle purchases.
As park district officials look to 2023, Wilson anticipates continued growth in attendance and similar challenges.
“Our major facilities and programs are working very well,” Wilson said. “Overall, we are in a very strong position financially as an organization.”