DuPage County: No traffic court at Naperville's Safety Town

 
 
Updated 9/20/2016 7:24 PM
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  • Daily Herald file photo / Marie Wilson/mwilson@dailyherald.comAn idea to open a DuPage County traffic court in a classroom building at Naperville's Safety Town has been rejected by county officials.

    Daily Herald file photo / Marie Wilson/mwilson@dailyherald.comAn idea to open a DuPage County traffic court in a classroom building at Naperville's Safety Town has been rejected by county officials.

DuPage County has scrapped the idea of using a classroom building at Naperville's Safety Town for traffic court.

County board member Jim Healy said the Safety Town building and two other locations suggested by Naperville don't meet the criteria to become a traffic court site.

Healy said he met Tuesday with DuPage Chief Judge Kathryn E. Creswell and county staff to review all the sites proposed by Naperville.

"They either don't meet the size or they don't meet the security requirements that we're going to need," said Healy, chairman of the county board's public works committee. "So for right now, we're not moving forward on any of the sites, including the Safety Town. We're back looking at other options for traffic court."

Naperville officials would like to have a traffic court two days a week in the city. If the idea becomes a reality, the city would move its traffic court cases to the new site.

Shifting Naperville cases to a traffic court site within the city would make it more convenient for police officers and residents who now must travel to Wheaton.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico last week said the idea of using a classroom building at Safety Town was a "very preliminary" concept that needed vetting.

Still, the nonprofit group that runs Safety Town raised objections and started an online petition against using the roughly 20-year-old building at Aurora and River roads for a satellite court.

Safety Town was dedicated to Naperville Mayor Emeritus George Pradel, who helped establish the site, and his late wife, Pat, in May 2015.

The 2-acre site for Safety Town -- a miniature replica of Naperville that opened in 1996 -- is used to teach safety skills to about 1,600 incoming kindergartners and first-grade students during a summer program held five days a week in June and July. The rest of the year, police and firefighters teach students and scouting groups, among other events.

If traffic court were in session two days a week, the summer program would have to be shortened to three days a week and reach fewer kids.

But Healy said the controversy was premature because county officials weren't sure if the Safety Town site would work.

Heather Queen, vice president of the Safety Town Commission, said the group is pleased that the facilty will continue to be used for its original purpose.

"We're happy it will have the safety classes," Queen said. "We hope the city is able to find another, more suitable venue to hold traffic court."

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