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DAR’s request for an America250 plaque OK’d for Naperville’s Veterans Park

The Naperville Park Board is moving forward with the placement of a plaque celebrating America’s 250th anniversary.

Board members unanimously voted last week to install the commemorative marker — donated by Naperville’s Fort Payne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution — in Naperville’s Veterans Park, 303 E. Gartner Road.

Jill Brewer, chapter regent for the Fort Payne DAR Chapter, said Monday, “We are really happy that we were able to get (this) greenlit.”

The plaque is part of a larger, national effort to celebrate America’s 250th birthday, coming up on July 4, 2026.

Plans to ring in the country’s big day have been in the works for the better part of a decade, starting with Congress establishing a commission in 2016 to facilitate countrywide ideas for celebrating the anniversary.

To date, the national commemoration, dubbed America250, has amassed dozens of partnering organizations and groups to join forces on celebration goals. The DAR is one of those partners.

To help with America250 efforts, DAR has launched a number of commemorative initiatives — including America250 “Patriots Markers” that the organization hopes to see at sites across the country. Fort Payne Chapter members wanted one of those sites to be Naperville.

Thinking an area park would make a good home for the memorial, the chapter broached the concept with the Naperville Park Board. But it wasn’t an easy sell at first. Questions over the plaque’s local relevance surfaced during the initial review.

The early pushback devolved into concerns spreading around the community that the DAR’s plaque donation wouldn’t be accepted — or had already been nixed.

At a meeting last month, however, park commissioners — after more than a dozen DAR members, veterans and residents spoke in favor of the plaque — stressed that they supported working with the Fort Payne Chapter to bring the marker to town.

Once installed, the local plaque will be 24 inches by 24 inches, according to Brewer.

“(Veterans Park) is a great location for it and having it installed is going to bring more awareness to the community for the 250th anniversary coming up in 2026,” Brewer said. “We’ll work to get it installed as quickly as we can.”

Next steps include getting a final OK on locally approved plans by national DAR and identifying a fabricator that will create the Naperville-specific America250 plaque, Brewer said.

tkenny@chicagotribune.com