MANTENO — On Monday, April 5, the Village of Manteno cut the ribbon on the latest addition to the downtown area. Love Locks is a brand-new art installation located at Merchant’s Park (at the corner of Main Street and Division Street) that is slated to be open to the public in mid-April.
This is an interactive piece designed to draw the community together and honor each other and loved ones by using locks as a symbol. A large sculpture in the shape of the letters “L-O-V-E” will be adorned with love locks by residents.
The Village of Manteno’s building department administrative assistant, Yvette Nugent, was inspired by a similar installation at the Distillery District in Toronto and brought the idea home.
“I am always on the lookout for some project that is going to make the village more homey and Hallmark-esque,” shared Nugent. “I can’t wait for people to drive through and think, ‘What a sweet little town.’”
The sculpture itself was made in Manteno by Mark Stevenson of Stevenson Fabrication Services. Stevenson also teaches welding at Kankakee Community College and was assisted by one of his students who also lives in Manteno.
Nugent said that Whitmore Ace Hardware in Manteno has stocked padlocks of various colors and prices.
“It’s something that can bring people together and it doesn’t have to be a $50 lock, it could be a padlock with magic marker on it and they look as lovely as the ones that are engraved,” she said.
The village’s public works is working to complete the ground underneath the installation by adding artificial grass so that people can walk up and place locks even in rainy or snowy weather.