At the latest City Council workshop Naper Settlement presented their vision for the future with plans for a new cornerstone building, Scott’s Block, with a project price tag of $30 million.
The building would be a replica of the original, which was a community-gathering place for Napervillians at the turn of the 20th century. The future Scott’s Block would be an exhibition center where the museum could expand its ability to tell stories and share some of its 55 thousand artifacts.
“We are looking 15 to 20 years down the road and we have some amazing stories in this city, amazing stories that are far beyond what the scope of our city is, it’s so important that we tell those stories to the future generations,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, President and CEO of Naper Settlement.
Scott’s Block would open in 2031 in time for Naperville’s bicentennial. Rena Tamayo-Calabrese the President and CEO of Naper Settlement asked for a $10 million lead gift from the city.
The council supported the concept but were concerned with the size of the request and their current debt obligations.
The remaining two-thirds of the cash would come from federal and state grants as well as private funding.
“The idea is we would be delivering back to the city and to the community an asset that is an economic engine and an asset would have essentially cost about one-third of its actual cost, so getting more or less a 200% return on investment is pretty good for the city,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese.
The city of Naperville owns the almost 13-acre campus and its buildings and it would be the deed holder on this new building.
Council members discussed a proposed referendum on the upcoming April ballot to weigh community support and alternative funding ideas.
“It does actually fit nicely in terms of the SECA mission. It’s absolutely a culture amenity and so I think it’s absolutely in the wheelhouse, it just doesn’t have the fund power to support it,” said Councilman Steve Chirico.
Council members agreed to take the request under consideration, stressing that they want to gather input from the residents about the potential investment before taking any action.
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