DIXON – A 9-foot statue of Naperville’s city founder caused a buzz Thursday in front of City Hall.
Its sculptor was not lost. He was making a sale’s pitch.
Artist Jeff Adams of Mount Carroll showed off his bronze statue of Col. Joseph Naper to Dixon Mayor Jim Burke on Thursday, after the mayor’s announcement last month that a committee had been formed to create in Lowell Park a statue of Ronald Reagan as a lifeguard.
Adams said he called Burke to be considered as the statue sculptor, and promised to show him a sample of his work.
Burke still was surprised, and impressed, by the size of Adams’ statue.
“It was awesome,” the mayor said. “It was really something, but I told him I will pitch his name to the committee.”
Residents were just as stunned, Burke said. A handful of people stopped to take pictures of the statue, and others asked what it was and where it was going.
The Daily Herald newspaper reported the $185,000 statue is en route to Naperville and will be unveiled Aug. 23.
Other sculptors have contacted him, Burke said, but Adams is the first to drop by.
The mayor said the committee has a sculptor in mind. It has reached out to the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio in Highwood, a Chicago suburb. The studio is nationally known for such works as the Michael Jordan statute in front of the United Center in Chicago and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statue in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Chicago-area studio estimated the cost of the proposed Reagan statue to be about $120,000.
The committee’s objective is to design, create and build a 7-foot bronze sculpture within the next 10 to 12 months of a young Reagan. The location of the statue in the park has not been determined, nor has the design.
Funding would come from foundations and corporate donations, not limited to those in Dixon. City money would not be used, although Dixon Tourism could put money toward the effort, Burke said.
A nationally recognized studio could make it easier to raise funds, the mayor said.
Other committee members are Burke, City Commissioner Colleen Brechon, Riverfront Chairman Larry Reed, Dixon Tourism President Vicky Turner, Dixon Main Street Executive Director Josh Albrecht, and Jeff Lovett and Ann Lewis.
Reagan is said to have saved 77 lives while working as a lifeguard along the Rock River in Lowell Park.