The Naperville Heritage Society over the weekend broke ground on two projects, the Benck Family Agriculture Interpretative Center and Herman and Anna Hageman Memorial Thresher Hall.
The event held at Naper Settlement celebrated the start of construction, which is scheduled for late November.
Significance of the Event
According to Naper Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, “It is truly a dream come true for us. When I mean us, it’s a dream come true for the farmers, for the ambassadors, for council, for our city, for our staff, for our board. It is a dream come true. It is an important piece of the future of education in our state.”
Project leaders envision the new agriculture center as a hub for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming and exhibits. Additionally, the new hall will provide added space for storing and displaying a threshing machine.
Reflecting on History
Tamayo-Calabrese says it’s important to remember the city’s agricultural roots.
“The importance about history is not just to look back because it is important. But it’s actually understanding that history is the rails upon which we plan the present in which people will live 50 years from now. … History has a really important relevance and place in the present because with it, is how we can shepherd the kind of future that we want. What does our community look like? How important is education and entrepreneurship and community and the understanding of identify in our own community? It is far more than just a look back.”
The projects are made possible thanks, in part, to a public-private partnership between the city of Naperville and the Naperville Heritage Society.
“To have council support means absolutely everything. It means that we are doing our job, that we have their trust, that we have their support. It’s such an important part of who we are as a public-private partnership.”
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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