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posted: 10/4/2010 12:01 AM

'Y.M.C.A.' sculpture unveiled at Naperville's Fry Family YMCA

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  • Even Naperville Mayor George Pradel couldn't refrain from grabbing onto the new interactive sculpture unveiled Sunday to celebrate Heritage YMCA's 100 years in the city.

       Even Naperville Mayor George Pradel couldn't refrain from grabbing onto the new interactive sculpture unveiled Sunday to celebrate Heritage YMCA's 100 years in the city.
    Suzanne Caraker | Staff Photographer

 
 

The police officer, construction worker, Native American, sailor and biker were all curiously absent from Saturday's unveiling of Naperville's Century Walk Corporation's unveiling of it's 36th piece.

But the 1978 hit "Y.M.C.A." blared through the outdoor speakers and adults and children alike danced along as the group honored the Heritage YMCA's centennial with the dedication of an interactive sculpture.

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The 1,500-pound statue by Colorado artist Jane DeDecker is 11 feet long, 3 feet wide and 7 feet high and features four children spelling out letters with their bodies.

"It's a little ironic that the Y would associate itself with that ridiculous song by putting the statue in its front yard, but it's fun," said Naperville resident Hareet George who attended the dedication. "But the statue is a great representation of the fun that can be had here so I'm ok with it. I actually like it."

Tom Beernsten, CEO and President of the Heritage YMCA Group of Naperville, said the dedication and planned Century Plaza project are pieces of a re-branding effort the organization is undertaking.

"We're going to do a better job telling our story. You're going to see programs change. You're going to see leadership and staff come and go but the mission of the YMCA will remain the same," Beernsten said. "Our programs are going to continue to be value-based, mission driven and we will continue to do in the next 100 years what we've done in this past 100 years."

The Heritage YMCA, which serves Naperville, Aurora and Oswego, can trace its history to the construction of the Kroehler Family YMCA in downtown Naperville in 1910. That facility opened its doors in 1911.

To make the complete plaza a reality, however, it is now up to the Y to raise more than $30,000 for construction and an honorary committee has been set up to help it reach that goal.

In addition to Sunday's ceremony, Beernsten said a ribbon-cutting is planned for March 26 at the Kroehler YMCA marking the anniversary of the formal dedication in 1911, and a family picnic is likely to be planned at a yet to be determined summer date.

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