Funds provide for tribute to Moser family
April 1, 2008 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Mike Mitchell
Chicago Cub fans can finally admire a statue of "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks outside Wrigley Field this year, so why shouldn't Naperville residents have a chance to look at a statue of "Mr. Naperville" in his playground?
Century Walk Corp. will make plans to install sculptures of some of Naperville's most influential people, Harold Moser and his wife, Margaret, in downtown Naperville by the end of this year after the group was tentatively awarded $274,000 by the City Council last week as part of the annually distributed Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund.
"I think from an artistic perspective, statues have a permanency - it's kind of a long-term commitment to the community," said Brand Bobosky, president of the Century Walk. "At present, we are working on selection of an artist and the staging of it. We've been of the opinion that this should be a statue of both Harold and Margaret; they were together for a very long time. She was the woman behind the man. They had no children, so they concentrated so much effort on the people of Naperville. So, you could call her Mrs. Naperville or Mrs. President in this town."
Moser is credited with developing half of Naperville's residential communities, such as the Cress Creek and White Eagle subdivisions. He was well-known as a civic leader, philanthropist and businessman. He also was a supporter of the city's Catholic churches, donating 10 acres of land each to St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Margaret Mary and St. Raphael parishes.
Bobosky said the Moser sculpture likely will be raised at SS Peter and Paul Catholic School or the Moser Tower, a tower that was named after the famous philanthropist who donated $1 million for the construction of the Millennium Carillon.
As part of the SECA Fund, the city will distribute about $2.57 million that comes from the citywide 1 percent food and beverage tax to help promote and sustain cultural amenities in the city. The funds also will help maintain the board's 31 pieces of art that can be found throughout the city.
This year, more than $8.9 million was requested from various groups for SECA funding. While Century Walk board members asked for $480,500 in SECA funds, the board only received $274,000.
Bobosky said the board planned on installing a mural at River Square near the river and Washington Street but learned that the city might be planning to add more development to the area.
"I'm balanced and I don't think it was a problem that we didn't get all the funds," Bobosky said. "At the time, we didn't know there was potential in that area for more development and naturally it wouldn't make sense to put a mural there and then have it removed just a few years later. What we do is try to make a long-lasting impact in the city."
Last year, the group introduced "A Cat in the Hat" sculpture to the city, which was installed at the Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. Plans are being drawn up to add another Dr. Seuss sculpture to the 95th Street Library some time over the next year.
"Since 1996 we have put 30 statues reflecting Naperville's people and places," Bobosky said. "Now, we are sort of in phase two of the project. We are now adding new art that can either have something to do with Naperville or not. Like the Dr. Seuss sculpture, it has little to do with the city but it does make the art and community here a little richer."
Megan Donson, 2, looks up at the "Cat in the Hat" sculpture at Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. SECA funding will help maintain this and the city's other pieces of art.