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.