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The city of Naperville is known as one of the best places in America to live. It is also known for its world-class library system and, in one arguably ridiculous listing, one of America’s top beach towns. What started as a small farm town established in the mid-1800s has become a thriving city of nearly 150,000 people. Joe Naper’s settlement has come a long way.

Naperville may also soon be considered an entertainment epicenter (which isn’t nearly as implausible as its beach town designation). That’s because a huge expanse of land that already houses Topgolf and WhirlyBall at the northwest corner of Route 59 and I-88, within a stone’s throw of Monarch Landing, is destined to become a tourist attraction in its own right.

“Live, work, play, stay” is the concept of the so-named CityGate Centre, slated to include an apartment building with a rooftop event center, an arena for hockey games, concerts and conventions, and a brewery or winery with a restaurant and hotel – all within a backdrop of public art.

Indeed, as Naperville is home to but one bed and breakfast and one hotel in the downtown area, it hasn’t always been top on the list of vacation destinations. However, if Mayor Steve Chirico and CityGate Centre developers have their way, that may all change.

As it stands now, Naperville has delighted many a visitor and resident with its vibrant downtown, featuring upscale restaurants and shops, the lovely Riverwalk, the chic Water Street district, and the historic Naper Settlement. Charming little Tuk Tuks tote fun-seekers around from one spot to the next, and the Naperville Trolley is always a sign of a festive time.

Why do people seek entertainment? Psychologists posit that, as the highest form of life on earth, humans have built-in neural processes that predispose us to value narratives – whether the simple oral tales that circulated long ago or the grand (and wickedly expensive) stage productions of today. What makes narratives so attractive is our unique ability to grasp imitation, to insert ourselves in stories and understand what someone else is experiencing.

But we must be careful. The most ubiquitous form of narrative entertainment – television – is a passive form that, in excess, is not healthy for the brain and inhibits meaningful social interactions. Yet, the average American watches nearly four hours of TV per day, and people over 65 watch over seven hours a day.

On the other hand, active forms of entertainment are enormously beneficial, and seniors stand to gain much from inserting themselves in the scene. Inactivity, especially in older age, can contribute to cancer, osteoporosis, depression, diabetes, hypertension, dementia, and a host of other ailments. Active seniors, however, experience improved stamina, mobility, strength, cognitive function, socialization, and overall health and well-being.

At Monarch Landing, across the street from the developing CityGate Centre, a multitude of clubs and committees, programs and activities, fitness offerings, cultural outings, nature expeditions and so much more engage residents daily. Opportunities for healthy entertainment and vital interactions with others are virtually endless.

One might even say that Monarch Landing itself is a vacation destination!