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updated: 2/17/2014 6:41 PM

Honor for Gurnee ex-mayor Richard Welton postponed

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  • Richard Welton

    Richard Welton


Poor weather Monday night led to postponement of a village board meeting that would have been a celebration of Gurnee's longest-serving mayor.

If heavy snow had not hit, Mayor Kristina Kovarik was prepared to recommend a long-vacant 1-acre site on Old Grand Avenue become the Richard A. Welton Village Plaza.

Plans call for the plaza to include bronze markers indicating Gurnee milestones in an area just east of the Des Plaines River, which is Gurnee's original section known as village center.

Officials announced the meeting will be rescheduled to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at village hall, 325 N. O'Plaine Road. Gurnee management analyst Erik Jensen confirmed the session still will feature a site plan unveiling and artist's renderings, and trustees being asked to adopt a resolution placing Welton's name on the parcel.

Welton, 71, a lifelong Gurnee resident, said he learned about the plan to have the plaza named for him last week. He was mayor from 1973 to 2001.

Plans for the former Gurnee police station site have been on hold since 2010, when former Trustee Kirk Morris sued the village after his private foundation was removed as leader of the Heroes of Freedom Memorial Park effort. Morris and Kovarik began publicly feuding in 2009 after she accused his foundation of being incapable of building the memorial.

Under a lawsuit settlement approved in 2013, Gurnee's insurance carrier paid $200,000 to the ex-trustee's Pfc. Geoffrey Morris Memorial Foundation for design work and other improvements the group made to the public land. The foundation was named for Morris' son, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004.

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