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updated: 5/22/2013 5:37 PM

Rolling Meadows will keep Gateway Park intact

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  • Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.

       Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.

       Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.

       Gateway Park in Rolling Meadows.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 

Rolling Meadows' Gateway Park at the corner of New Wilke and Kirchoff roads will remain intact. And the name will stay the same.

Alderman Mike Cannon of the 1st Ward made a strong plea Tuesday that part of the land be sold off as residential sites to pay for improvements to the park and a strip of land along New Wilke south of Kirchoff.

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No one uses the park, argued Cannon, who also proposed renaming the park for Alderman Larry Buske, who was representing the 3rd Ward when he died in December.

Without selling part of the land, the city won't have funds to upgrade the park, Cannon said.

"We could make the monument more modern looking. I think the lighting looks old fashioned. We could build gardens and maybe a water feature," said Cannon. "We could add a bike station."

However, only Alderman Brad Judd of the 4th Ward agreed to authorize appraisals in preparation for selling perhaps 40 percent of the park as home sites. And only Alderman John D'Astice of the 6th Ward agreed it should be named for Buske.

"It's something special, a nice welcome to the city," objected Ald Laura Majikes of the 3rd Ward.

Resident Gloria Anzalone presented the council with 49 names on a petition against selling part of the park. She suggested the city had other land to sell if it needs money.

"Don't take our park away and make it smaller to build two homes that might not sell," she said.

The city council decided instead to perhaps spruce up the park with lower-cost amenities like benches and finding a volunteer organization to plant flowers.

Meanwhile, City Manager Barry Krumstok is studying what type memorial would be appropriate for Buske. Suggestions included a park bench, and Mayor Tom Rooney remembered how moved Buske was in September to see the bench in Kimball Hill Park honoring Shannon McNamara, a Rolling Meadows resident who was murdered while a student at Eastern Illinois University.

Several aldermen praised Cannon for his attempts to find more income for the city, but Rooney delivered a blistering criticism.

He said he had asked Cannon to separate the two issues -- selling the land and renaming the park.

The alderman "put a cherry on a sardine sundae to try to get the council to eat it," said the mayor, adding he was upset that Cannon was trying to push the land sale by playing on the emotional issue of Buske's death.

Cannon said after the meeting that he thought Rooney's statements were "a little unfair." He said he refused to separate the two issues because this was the first time he had heard Rooney oppose an idea before it had been discussed.

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