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Naperville's got a new parks director

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Denver's deputy manager of recreation and facility services has accepted the position as executive director of the Naperville Park District, the Rocky Mountain News reported. Daniel Betts started working for Colorado's capital city four years ago and his resignation is effective March 4, the newspaper reported.

He told the Rocky Mountain News that becoming executive director of the Naperville Park District was a promotion, a great opportunity and a chance to return to the Chicago area, where he grew up.

"This has been a great experience all the way around," he said about his time in Denver, the paper reported.

A Web site profile said that Betts graduated in 2001 from Western Illinois University, which he began attending in 1998. The profile described Betts as an education management consultant in addition to being Denver's deputy director of parks and recreation.

In September Betts faced a firestorm of criticism from Denver City Council members over a proposal to reduce hours that 12 of the city's recreation centers were open to the public, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News reported. The cutbacks were considered as a cost-saving measure.

In 2005 Betts helped organize a youth basketball tournament and other events designed to highlight Denver's diversity when the NBA All-Star Game was held in Colorado, the Post reported.

In April 2007 Betts was one of six finalists named for the director of recreation in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to minutes of that city's Public Recreation Commission.

Naperville's Park District has been without an executive director since Barb Heller resigned nearly a year ago.

What do you think Betts' priorities for the park district should be?

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I agree with T.B. about the rec center. It had all the markings of a white elephant that certain board members were trying to shove down the taxpayers' throats.

John -

Obviously you missed the part about the millions and millions of dollars the NCHS desperately needs (or so we we're told). So we'd get to pay for the NCHS building rehab through the park district and then pay for a new school, too, through the school district?


As for indoor space, I think Sad in 204 is over-simplifying when he/she states that other rec facilities put up the resistance to the park district plan. I think there was plenty of resistance to a plan not approved by the taxpayers.

Yes, the park district should provide some indoor space; however, the park district should provide space not already provided by the private sector. The park district should not be competing against private businesses with taxpayer funds.

And the proposed facility was no bargain, with monthly fees at or near the level of private facilities. The park district's estimates of how many people would be willing to pay for the use of the facility appeared to be greatly exaggerated.


Lastly, I hope the park district learned their lesson and the new director is required to live within the boundaries of the district.


I read where the Park Board felt they needed to "commit" to the new Director with a contract (versus "at large" employment).

My question is this: Did the new Director commit to Nparville? Will he immediately live in Naperville?

I'm not trying to set off a fire-storm here, but this idea of inside-space intrigues me. If this was a year or two from now and the new director had a chance to get to know the city a little, I can't help but wonder how he would have felt about a land swap with D203. Would the voters have passed a referendum for a new NCHS if the park district would have made the swap and said, "Great, we'll take the old building and do some work to turn it into a community fieldhouse and gymnasium, we've got classrooms for educational purposes, a pool that can be shared by the community and club swim programs, and an auditorium for park district performances." ANd the parts of the building you don't use? Think of all the extra parking spaces you could make!!!

Just a thought. Welcome to the new director- we need more WIU alumns in positions of power- go Leathernecks!

The Naperville mentality - have the taxpayer supported Park District build more "indoor space" to drive the private clubs and YMCA out of business. What the heck is wrong with you? The "PARK" District equals open land, baseball and soccer fields, community park, services for the youth and the the senior citizens and THATS IT!

You want more, then go pay for it. The audacity of some people wanting everyone to help pay for a facility so they can have fun when it is already available via the private sector. Naperville spending continues to get more and more ridiculous! Anyone want to buy a moderatly used Carillon? Hey Sad in 204, spend more time dealing with that odious 204 SB and their incredulous spending without planning and forgo your worries about the Park District.

I still think we need more Park District indoor space. The private clubs and the YMCA have put up stiff resistance before to limit competition. I don't think it will ever get easier, but it needs to get done.

I also agree with the previous poster regarding splash fountains for the kids. I think that would have been a great addition to Central Park. Maybe someplace else downtown? Even something simple like the sculpture/fountain across from the SciTech museum in downtown Aurora would be a big draw.

This is very exciting, Denver parks were wonderful and now he can just keep making Naperville Parks even more wonderful!

I am hoping he will develop a few of those water fountain parks with the natural rocks and fountains for the kids to run around in. We loved them in Denver!

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on February 12, 2008 2:44 AM.

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