NILES, Ill. - In northwest suburban Niles, the Leaning Tower of Niles is a well-known landmark. The tower draws visitors from across the Chicago area. It's about half the dimensions of the original Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Village of Niles bought the tower from the Niles YMCA on August 7. Now, Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo plans to put a railing around it so people can walk to the top. The village is also planning to restore the bell tower at the top.
"The plan now is complete restoration of the tower, and ensure its place as the focal point of what is going to be a larger village greenway and plaza, with retail, restaurants and a stage for performances, among other amenities," Przybylo said.
The structure was built in 1934 as a water tower by industrialist Robert Ilg. It was later donated to the YMCA, but upkeep has been too much for them, so they sold it to the village for just $10.
The village plans to renovate both the structure and the surrounding area to make it a major tourist destination.
"Aside from getting the people to go up, we want to get it on the National Historic Register," said Przybylo.
Niles and Pisa, Italy are sister cities.