At The Time It Seemed Like A Good Idea

Naperville’s Moser Tower, which houses the Millennium Carillon, is falling apart. Naperville city officials estimate that the cost to repair it will run from $1.6 million to $3.8 million, which means in everyday taxpayer terms it will run between $3.2 million to $7.6 million as a starter.

The city paid $50,000 over a two-year period to get the estimate. Naperville city officials throw money around like it doesn’t come out of their pockets, which of course it doesn’t, which is why they throw it around. As Naperville city manager Doug Krieger was quoted as saying, “if you dig a financial hole, the way to fill it is with cash, and they way to get cash, is from the rate payers” when talking about Naperville’s electric utility, which applies to any financial hole city officials dig.

The Carillon idea was hatched in 1997, and presented to the Celebration 2000 Committee in 1998. The Naperville Carillon Foundation took over the project that year, and construction of the tower began in 1999 to commemorate the new millennium and it was  completed in 2001, though the flow of  funding, turned into a trickle.

The tower is named after the Moser family. The Moser name (Harold, Jim, and Ed) in Naperville is nearly as big as the Naper name (Joe and John). Naperville city officials did some heavy leaning on Harold and Margaret Moser to squeeze as much money as they could out of them to be the largest donors for the project. No doubt that Harold had a lot of money to squeeze out, so it wasn’t difficult to sell him on the idea. Harold probably thought the Tower would last as long as the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. It didn’t.

In 2005 the City officials took over the Foundation’s debt and officials coughed up about $5 million from the SECA Fund (Special Events and Cultural Amenities) to finish the project in 2007. Now just ten years later it’s falling apart. The Moser boys, Harold and Jim would not be happy campers if they knew that the folks they trusted to get the job done right, didn’t hold up their end of the deal.

Now Naperville city officials have three choices; level the tower and hang the bells on the Municipal Christmas tree (just kidding about the tree) for about a million dollars, make repairs ‘on the cheap’ for about four million dollars, or go all out with repairs for about seven million. The problem with the last two choices is that considering how government works, the problem will resurface again in the near future with new city officials trying to deal with it.

I vote for cutting the losses, level it with gusto, and be done with it. Don’t do to a future city council, what the 2005 city council did to this city council.

Council members really enjoy pounding structures into oblivion.

Turn the demolition into a money making event. Sell tickets and sledge hammers so folks from near and far can take a swing at it like Chicago Cub outfielder Kyle Schwarber trying to launch a piece of it across the DuPage River or on the roof of the Municipal Center.

Auction off the bells. I will begin the bidding with $20 for Carillon bell #7. It can be found between bells number 6 and 8. It’s the one that still has a good ring to it.

Show 4 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    Naperville’s very own sucking sound, money hole. Repair and or modifications will cost more then the original construction not to mention the chief Carillonist  who makes 50+K annually? Don’t know about you but I’m up for selling the bells, bulldozing the structure and returning the ground to mother nature which should satisfy the green thumb global warmists. To the bananas who proposed this boondoggle I propose a surtax, destruction levee to eradicate this ear and peace shattering monstrosity to punish them for wasting OUR money in the first place. As to our business manager who should have been fired years ago over the smart meter fiasco he, no doubt, will advocate wasting many more millions of our hard earned money.

  2. For whom the bell tolls

    It tolls for US! The tax payers of Naperville. And will continue to be a toll until it last bell chimes. It was a money pit from the first time they talked about it. It should NEVER have been built until all donated funds were secure in a trust, with money for future repairs. Tear it down. The sooner the better.

  3. Concerned Citizen

    Spending is out of control in this City. We have over $100 million in unfunded pension liabilities. Naperville needs to stop the bleeding and unless private money is raised for this repair and the next 20 years of maintenance, tear it down.

    Same goes for the WiFi zone the Mayor wants. It will be built with private money, then turned over to the City tax rolls. The Mayor has already admitted this. What happens when a hailstorm comes in year 2 and destroys the solar panels? Don’t tell me this is unrealistic – it can happen.

  4. Jim Haselhorst

    To be honest I was not a big supporter of building the Carillon in the first place and once it was completed I became ever less of a supporter. I live within earshot of this structure and every time I hear it’s automated system play some tune I cringe. This was simply a mis-managed project from the start that serves as an outstanding example of what happens when you start making major changing after construction has starting.

    Living and working close to the Riverwalk I usually spend my lunch break walking on the Riverwalk as well as several times a week during the evenings and on weekends. During these walks I encounter a lot of people that are very interested in the Carillon; asking questions about tours of the tower and when they can hear performances by people playing the Carillon. The Carillon has clearly become an attraction for people visiting Naperville, meaning it has become part of our community’s character, which makes getting rid of it problematic.

    Sadly based on the information I have gotten all of this could have been avoid if years ago city council had agreed to spend the little over $1 million needed to complete the Tower as designed, which would have enclosed it and protected it from the very weather damage that is the problem today. As I understand it there are basically two options, the first is to spend $1.6 million patching up the tower so it will last a few more years but would have to be torn down at the end of this time. Or the second option to spend $3.8 million and permanently fix the tower (this option includes enclosing the tower as originally designed).

    I definitely cannot support spending $1.6 million to basically “kick the can down the road”, but I cannot say I am positively against the city spending $3.8 million to fix it permanently. It would be best if private funds could be found to cover all this expense, but if the city has to cover part of these costs that would be reasonable considering it was the city’s decision to cut cost in the original construction that cause these problems.

    The one question I have that has not yet been answered by anyone, is what happens to the mobile cell modules presently on the top of the tower? Is the city contractually obligated to provide a replacement tower for these modules? If so what will this tower look like? Where will it be located? And what will be the cost?

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