Dick Locher joked Thursday that Naperville's police chief can retire now that Dick Tracy is back on the job.
Locher, a longtime Naperville resident who spent roughly three decades drawing the Dick Tracy comic strip, looked on as construction workers moved a 9-foot-tall sculpture of his famous cop to its new, permanent location in front of the Naperville Township building near the city's new Water Street District.
"We're very happy to see him back," Locher said.
The sculpture was installed in 2010 in the same area, but closer to the edge of the DuPage River. Last year, when work began on the $93 million Water Street development south of the river, the 2,000-pound statue was moved into storage.
"It gave us the opportunity to get him up, out of the water," said Deb Newman, spokeswoman for the Water Street project. "There was some concern that his feet were in the water in the spring, when the river rose."
Sculptor Donald L. Reed happily watched the move Thursday and said he plans to return to the site in a few months, to touch up his artwork and treat the surface with stronger finishes.
"By early spring it should be completely ready to be seen as it will be for years and years," he said. "It's a wonderful thing to know it's going to be safe for the next generation of Napervillians."
Newman said the sculpture will be enclosed in a wooden box until mid-December, while work continues on the plaza surrounding it. She said that work will include the installation of five mosaic murals along the Riverwalk, close to where the statue used to stand.
The extended Riverwalk path is just part of project, which includes the new Hotel Indigo, a banquet center, parking, restaurants, shops and offices.
"We're so excited to be getting this project to a place where people can really walk around and enjoy it," Newman said. "It's going to become busier and busier around here in the next few months, and to have (Dick Tracy) be the first thing that people can really come and enjoy again is really exciting."