It made an appearance in the Last Fling Labor Day parade, it's been seen standing in the municipal center, and in about a month, the "Spirit of the American Navy" sculpture is set to be on display at Burlington Square Park in Naperville.
The city council agreed last week to advance its donation of $25,000 to Century Walk Corp. to ensure the sculpture can be dedicated by Oct. 13, the 238th anniversary of the U.S. Navy's creation. Previously, the city had been planning to make its contribution once all other funds toward the project's $77,000 total were raised.
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"I think we all like this project -- it represents unfinished business at the park," Councilman David Wentz said.
Burlington Square Park has been home to "Spirit of the American Doughboy," a 1920s-era sculpture of a soldier, since the piece was restored in 2003. Local veterans say they will appreciate representation the symmetry when the Navy, too, will be represented in the park.
Both pieces are by artist E.M. Viquesney, but the Navy sculpture is the more rare of the two, with only eight produced, according to research conducted by Century Walk board member Steve Hyett.
The city's $25,000 contribution joins $25,000 from Century Walk as the main components of the roughly $77,000 needed to install the sculpture on a granite pedestal and build sidewalks, benches, lighting and landscaping for a new plaza.
Century Walk Chairman Brand Bobosky told city councilmen the group has changed the type of granite it plans to mount the sculpture on and made a few other changes to decrease the project's cost.
Century Walk also has turned to a crowdfunding site for public projects called citizinvestor.com to seek the rest of the money it needs to install its 44th piece of public art since 1996. Bobosky said using the site has allowed people to make credit card donations, which Century Walk otherwise could not accept, although the cards only will be charged if the project meets its fundraising goal.
As of Tuesday afternoon, with 25 days left in the online fundraising campaign, $67,446 of the $77,000 goal had been raised.