BATAVIA, IL — “Peace on Earth” in Batavia is here to stay now that the Batavia Parks Foundation has reached its $50,000 fundraising goal to make the artwork over the Fox River a permanent installation.
The 12 letters are currently installed on the bicycle-pedestrian bridge in downtown Batavia. A “dream come true” for project founder Craig Foltos, the hopeful message was hung each year during the Christmas season in Batavia.
In an effort to make the installation permanent, Batavia Parks Foundation launched a community campaign in May. Reaching its fundraising goal was “the best kind of gift at Christmas,” officials said in a news release.
“The Batavia Parks Foundation is overjoyed to announce today that we have reached the $50,000 community goal for the PEACE ON EARTH permanent artwork,” Parks Foundation president Britta McKenna said in a statement Dec. 21. “It is fitting that we met our community goal at Christmas — what a gift to the community from the community.”
Besides community engagement being “the main ingredient,” officials cited a generous $5,000 donation from the Dunham Foundation as “a big reason” the goal was met.
“The Dunham Foundation is pleased to support this special local project to help make the ‘Peace on Earth’ sign a permanent landmark in Batavia, and we look forward to witnessing the many ways this sign will continue to inspire the community,” Dunham Foundation President and CEO Vicki Morcos said in a statement.
After the Dunham Foundation’s contribution, officials said they were only $35 away from meeting their goal, which was surpassed due to people purchasing “Play It Forward” raffle tickets, donating money, buying merchandise and signing up for various sponsorships.
Construction for the permanent installation is currently underway. An official unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony are planned to coincide with the 2023 United Nations International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, 2023.
Staff at the Batavia Parks Foundation urged any local tradespeople interested in helping with the construction project and electrical installation to contact.