CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 15 years after David Letterman mockingly sent Kankakee two gazebos so the town could promote itself after a magazine named the town the worst metropolitan area in the U.S., a group of students is working to turn the gazebos into a retirement gift for the Late Show host.

Bill Curtain’s students at Kankakee High School were working on tearing down the two gazebos, and using the wood to make a rocking chair for Letterman. They had sent in a request to appear on the show to present Letterman with the gift, but producers at first turned them down.

Curtin said the main goal is to set the record straight about their town.

“The story that’s out there about Kankakee is a negative one, and that just doesn’t reflect the city that they live in, so they want to tell a new story,” he said.

After his student’s quest gained publicity, officials at CBS reversed course, and said the Late Show will send a crew to Kankakee to shoot a segment with Curtin and the students, and bring the rocking chair back to New York.

“I think it’s great. On the same show that Kankakee was mocked on a national stage, we get to promote the positive aspects of Kankakee. So we’re really happy to have Dave feature Kankakee, and all of the great things going on there, and we’re excited to tell our story,” Curtin said.

In 1999, when Kankakee was ranked in one survey as the worst place to live in America, Letterman made a mocking Top 10 List about the town, and sent a gag gift of two gazebos, joking Kankakee could promote itself as home of world famous twin gazebos.

The gazebos have stood proudly ever since, but now they’re looking pretty worn, so Curtin came up with a plan to tear them down, and use the wood to make a retirement gift for Letterman.

“We’ve already received permission from the mayor to take care of one of them that’s at the Kankakee Train Depot. So the students are going to demolish that one, and rebuild it into a rocking chair that they’re going to send back to David Letterman as a retirement gift,” Curtin said.

Tim Keown, one of Curtin’s students, said they really wanted to show people that Kankakee is not the worst city in America.

“We really wanted to show that to the surrounding people, and David Letterman,” he said. “All cities have their problems, you know, but we’d like to show that we really made progress, and we’re a new community now.”

The students asked producers of the Late Show if they could be guests on the show to present Letterman with the gift, but their offer was declined.

“As we head into the home stretch here at the show, we have received many offers to present various gifts to Dave. In order to be fair to the many offers that have come in, we don’t feel right choosing some and not others, and therefore have to respectfully decline your offer at this time,” Late show producer John Klarl wrote in a letter to the students.

The students hoped to change the producers’ minds, so Curtin sent the Late Show another letter, trying to convince producers to invite the kids on the show to set the record straight about Kankakee, but so far have not heard from him.

“Dave’s gift to the city of Kankakee was intended as a joke, but it has had real and lasting consequences for the city. While I agree that it would not be fair to accept some gifts while refusing others, I also feel that it is unfair that Kankakee continues to receive negative attention about the gazebos Dave gave the city 15 years ago–a narrative that persists even today,” Curtin wrote. “What would be fair would be for the narrative of Kankakee to reflect the changes Dave’s gazebos sparked, and credit him for a push in the right direction instead of a biting insult.”

As the students were in Chicago to discuss their effort to get on the Late Show, CBS spokeswoman Kimberly Izzo-Emmet informed CBS 2 the Late Show would be sending a remote crew to visit Kankakee in March, so Curtin and his students could show off the chair, and present it to a Late Show intern who would take it back to New York. The segment will later be aired on the Late Show.

The students also plan to replace the old gazebos with brand new ones.