When the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 1999, people all over the world celebrated the change of the millennium. And here in Naperville, residents joined right in that spirit by forming a group called “Celebration 2000” and holding a citywide festival. As part of that effort, organizers raised funds to construct a commemorative millennium wall.
Now, eleven years later, the wall is down.
As crews removed the trees surrounding the wall during the Riverwalk Rehabilitation project, they unexpectedly found the 11-year-old wall was cracked and tilting, forcing crews to examine it further.
“That was certainly not in our work plan,” said Rick Hitchcock, Chairman of the Riverwalk Commission. “We had no intention of tearing it down, and when we investigated it further we discovered there was no footing under it. We were frankly astonished it lasted as long as it did, which wasn’t very long.”
The Millennium Wall surrounds the amphitheater along the Riverwalk. Among the bricks you can find names inscribed from the donors who helped build it in 1999.
“I just thought it was kind of a slap at the folks that had donated their time and had done all the work to get that done,” said Richard Furstenau, the only City Council member to vote against rebuilding the wall.
The reconstruction of the wall will include an iron fence, and the Riverwalk Commission is donating $40,000 for plaques to keep the donor names intact.
“It will fit in very attractively,” said Hitchcock. “It’s going to look like it’s been there all along.”
Rebuilding the wall will cost the city more than $81,000, which will come from the SECA fund.
“Since it’s all disruptive it’s better to do it now and have cost savings, and plus we have the extra money in the SECA funds that we can use for this so that it’s not the tax payers dollars reconstructing this wall,” said Councilman Doug Krause.
“If that’s what you want to do with a quarter of the percentage is to tear down a wall that’s already been built, have at it,” said Furstenau.
Crews will begin to rebuild the Millennium Wall in September, and it is only expected to take a few weeks.
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