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updated: 4/28/2017 4:24 PM

Wauconda trustees-elect pledge to finish Heroes of Freedom Memorial

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  • From left, Tim Howe, Richard Morino and Adam Schlick are trustees-elect in Wauconda. They'll take the oath of office Tuesday night.

    From left, Tim Howe, Richard Morino and Adam Schlick are trustees-elect in Wauconda. They'll take the oath of office Tuesday night.

  • The Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Wauconda was dedicated in 2015 but remains unfinished. The village's three trustees-elect hope to quickly change that.

      The Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Wauconda was dedicated in 2015 but remains unfinished. The village's three trustees-elect hope to quickly change that.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

Wauconda's three trustees-elect pledge they'll work to quickly finish the Heroes of Freedom Memorial that has stood unfinished in town for more than a year.

"The voters want this resolved and they want to see this powerful monument completed, and we'll be working on accomplishing that without anymore delays," said Trustee Tim Howe, who won re-election April 4.

Howe and fellow trustees-elect Richard Morino and Adam Schlick will recite the oath of office during Tuesday night's village board meeting. So will Mayor-elect Lincoln Knight and Clerk-elect Cheryl Falk-Novak.

The five candidates ran together as the Wauconda Forward, and they defeated their opponents with the One Wauconda slate by large margins.

But the board, mayor and clerk races weren't the only issues on the April 4 ballot for Wauconda voters.

Members of the One Wauconda slate and outgoing Mayor Frank Bart championed an advisory ballot question that asked if the Heroes of Freedom Memorial should include text about the U.S. military's actions in the global war on terrorism, the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan.

An estimated 70 percent of Wauconda voters said "yes."

The memorial, which stands near Route 176 and Main Street, was dedicated in 2015. It features a wall listing the names of the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and a beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center buildings.

The monument has informally been called a Sept. 11 memorial by Bart and other officials. But Bart and his political allies have pushed for storyboards that would make significant mention of the U.S. military's actions since the terrorist attacks.

The village board has final say over any text added to the memorial. Some trustees, including Howe, have sought to minimize mentions of the military to ensure the memorial remains focused on the Sept. 11 attacks.

Village officials said talks with the civilian committee that has steered the Heroes of Freedom project inexplicably stopped last year.

Schlick said he hopes the village board soon finds a solution that leads to the project being finished "without any further politicalization of the topic."

Morino said the referendum showed the village wants to see the memorial finished "in a way that will make us all proud."

"My intention is to roll up my sleeves to see how we can move this forward as quickly as feasible," he said.

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