New controversy for Wauconda's Sept. 11 memorial
Four storyboards were removed from Wauconda's new Heroes of Freedom Memorial on Wednesday because they were installed without the village board's prior review and approval.
Public works department employees removed the plastic panels and their steel stands after a request from the village board. They will be stored at public works headquarters, officials said.
The storyboards tell visitors to the memorial on Main Street about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the elements of the memorial. They stood at various points at the memorial, which was publicly unveiled last month.
The storyboards on display were designed to be temporary until final versions were fabricated.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center buildings. It also features a large wall bearing the names of the people killed in the attacks.
During Tuesday's village board meeting, trustees ordered the panels removed because the text they contain had not been approved by the board. That's a requirement of the deal between the board and the volunteer group behind the memorial.
None of the trustees publicly objected to the panels' content.
"It's more the procedure," Trustee John Barbini said. "The procedure hadn't been followed."
Barbini said he wants the committee overseeing the project to submit proposed text for the storyboards to the village board, just as the committee did with the text for the memorial's dedication plaque. Once the text is approved, the panels can be reinstalled, he said.
"It worked for the dedication plaque. It should work for this," Barbini said.
The memorial has been a source of tension between the trustees and Mayor Frank Bart, a military veteran who's been one of the leading supporters of the project.
Bart attended Tuesday's meeting but left before the discussion about the memorial, telling the board and audience he had to catch a flight.
Afterward, several trustees accused Bart of letting the boards go up without their approval, and they lashed out at the absent mayor.
"He is not king," Trustee Tim Howe said. "This is a democracy. There are rules that have to be followed."
Trustee Chuck Black criticized Bart, too, saying he "is not willing to work with the group."
When reached by telephone Wednesday, Bart denied having anything to do with the storyboards' installation.
"They blame me for a lot of stuff, but I wasn't involved in the process," he said.
Bart referred questions about the storyboards to the volunteer committee. A representative couldn't be reached Wednesday.