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updated: 2/8/2017 5:34 PM

Will village and park district link two memorials in Wauconda?

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  • The Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Wauconda honors the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It's not far from a military veterans memorial, and officials are discussing linking the two sites.

      The Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Wauconda honors the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It's not far from a military veterans memorial, and officials are discussing linking the two sites.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • The Memorial Park monument is near the southwest corner of Route 176 and Main Street in Wauconda.

      The Memorial Park monument is near the southwest corner of Route 176 and Main Street in Wauconda.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Memorial Park is on the southwest corner of Route 176 and Main Street in Wauconda. Officials are considering linking it with the nearby Heroes of Freedom Memorial.

      Memorial Park is on the southwest corner of Route 176 and Main Street in Wauconda. Officials are considering linking it with the nearby Heroes of Freedom Memorial.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Heroes of Freedom Memorial was dedicated Sept. 11, 2015. It stands near the park district's Memorial Park, and officials are discussing building a link between the two sites.

      Wauconda's Heroes of Freedom Memorial was dedicated Sept. 11, 2015. It stands near the park district's Memorial Park, and officials are discussing building a link between the two sites.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer 2015

 
 

Village and park district officials in Wauconda are considering linking memorials to local military veterans and to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The memorials are within sight of each other near the southwest corner of Route 176 and Main Street.

The park district maintains Memorial Park, which honors veterans of the two world wars. The village owns the Heroes of Freedom Memorial, which was dedicated in 2015 and pays tribute to the Sept. 11 victims.

The link could consist of a path, informational signs and other elements, village Trustee Lincoln Knight said. He called it an opportunity to update the veterans memorial, which was built in 1948, to include later conflicts.

It's also a chance to finish the Heroes of Freedom Memorial, which is missing proposed displays about what happened Sept. 11 and other information.

During Tuesday's village board meeting, Knight announced he's spoken with park district Director Nancy Burton about the possible project. Village trustees enthusiastically backed the plan.

Trustee John Barbini was particularly excited about updating Memorial Park to include references to the wars that have occurred since World War II.

Trustee Tim Howe also was supportive, noting both sites have thematic connections.

"These two parks, these two memorials, speak to one another," Howe said.

Burton likes the idea of linking the memorials into an integrated site, too.

"The park district is always looking at ways to partner with other agencies, especially on ways that will benefit our community," she said.

Kirk Morris, co-chairman of the volunteer Heroes of Freedom Memorial committee, said linking the sites is part of his group's long-range plan. He envisioned brick walkways, bronze sculptures and other elements.

The Heroes of Freedom Memorial, which features a steel beam salvaged from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers, is the subject of a nonbinding question that will appear on Wauconda ballots for the April 4 consolidated election.

Voters will be asked if storyboards for the memorial should include text about the U.S. military's participation in the war on terrorism and the war in Afghanistan.

Displays mentioning those military conflicts were removed shortly after the memorial was dedicated in September 2015 because they were put up without the village board's approval.

Knight and Trustee Linda Starkey were the village board's liaisons to the Heroes of Freedom committee. On Tuesday, both said talks about the storyboards inexplicably broke down last year.

Emails sent to members of the committee weren't returned, and attempts to meet were fruitless, Knight said.

Knight said the subjects of the displays had been agreed upon, but not the wording.

He also noted the memorial needs repairs.

Asked about the lack of communication, Morris said Knight and Starkey "erred" when they claimed no one responded to their emails.

Additionally, Morris said the group's business with the village regarding the storyboards concluded last winter.

"No further meetings or work was required," he said.

Morris pledged to contact Knight and Starkey to address their concerns.

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