The Century Walk Corporation

Naperville commits money to maintain public art

March 31, 2015 — Source: Daily Herald — Author: Marie Wilson

Naperville City Council members decided Tuesday to invest in maintenance of public art installed by Century Walk Corp.

The nonprofit group sought a three-year funding commitment of $200,000 a year for maintenance of its 47 pieces of art and creation of new art while founder 75-year-old Brand Bobosky works out a plan for the group's future.

But what Century Walk will get, beginning after the city's upcoming 2016 fiscal year, is $44,000 a year for maintenance of only the pieces that are located on city property.

City council members expressed no concerns with the plan to pay for upkeep of works such as the 9 foot sculpture of the city's founder, Joseph Naper, on his original homestead site at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue or the KidsMatter Wayfinding Murals inside the Van Buren parking deck.

"I think $40,000 to protect the investment is money well spent, and I love it when we protect what we have," council member Joseph McElroy said.

Council member Steve Chirico asked how the maintenance agreement will work. Money for the work will come from food and beverage tax revenue allocated to the city's Special Events and Cultural Amenities fund, City Clerk Pam LeFeber said.

"We could pay Century Walk to continue the maintenance, or we could just contract with a maintenance company and just pay them directly," LeFeber said. "How the process is going to work is still under consideration."

Bobosky said he thinks $44,000 is an appropriate amount for maintenance of the pieces on city property, which number about 15 by his count. But he was not expecting to hear the city might take on the upkeep responsibility instead of granting Century Walk leaders the money and leaving it to them.

Century Walk has worked with artists since 1996 and knows what it takes to maintain the works of sculpture, mosaics and murals it has placed downtown and elsewhere in the city, knowledge the city likely doesn't have, Bobosky said.

"I really don't think they know where to start," he said.

For the upcoming fiscal year, which starts May 1, Century Walk will get more than designated under the future maintenance agreement. LeFeber said Century Walk will be granted $105,000 to work on new partnerships with North Central College and the developers of the Water Street District, to pay back the Naperville Park District for installation of a sawmill sculpture at Knoch Knolls Nature Center and to conduct maintenance and other projects.

"The idea is that we eventually work out an agreement with the city to turn the operations of Century Walk over to the city," Bobosky said. "We have to do some planning for where this goes."