Model monument to be erected for public view and comment in Libertyville
A model of an exhibit patterned after one in Washington, D.C., will greet visitors to Libertyville's Cook Park this year.
For a limited time, the public also will be able to give their opinion on whether the Charters of Freedom exhibit -- featuring replicas of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights -- would be a good, bad or indifferent fit.
The monument is suggested as a donation to the village by a not-for-profit group called Founders 55 led by local businessman Roch Tranel. Charters of Freedom is among the group's projects as it seeks to over time impact 1 billion people worldwide.
"It's not philosophical, we're doing stuff," Tranel said. He described the group as "abundant leaders having an abundant impact."
The initiative is intended to bring the historical documents within reach of generations of schoolchildren and others who can't travel to Washington, D.C. to see them, according to the group.
"When you look at these documents, I don't care who you are, it sends chills up your neck. It's awesome," Tranel said.
Cook Park was chosen as a potential location because it is a hub of year-round activity. With materials, installation and associated costs, Tranel estimated the project value at $125,000, but at no cost to taxpayers.
"I envision people coming from all over the area to Libertyville to view these documents," he said.
The exhibit originally was proposed for the northwest corner of the small, heavily used park, which adjoins Cook Library. The location shifted to the park's center during a subsequent review but Founders 55 was told to submit drawings for the original area.
The question is whether Cook Park is the right location, and village officials want the public to weigh in.
"That and also the scale of it," Mayor Terry Weppler said.
The village board Tuesday unanimously authorized the temporary installation of a "realistic model" to allow for input on the proposed placement and structures.
"We approved a range of 10 to 30 days for it to be in place and then we hope to get public input," said Trustee Pat Carey, who chairs the village's board's parks and recreation committee.
The monument is about 100 square feet, according to Carey.
"Typically, requests for Cook Park go to the (village) board because it's used so heavily," he said. "We want to make sure there's no interference with the activities planned there."
Cary said the committee has received a few comments pro and con.
Libertyville resident Jim Connell, for example, recently posted a letter to Mayor Terry Weppler on Facebook opposing the idea.
Connell said the monument idea is a "waste of everyone's time and completely unnecessary." He said the design was "ugly" and would detract from the local history of Ansel B. Cook, whose mansion is the centerpiece of the namesake park.
Tranel said he will look for a contractor to make a realistic-looking model. There is no deadline but he said village officials want it in place during a time of high activity.