Elgin ice cream man wants Hanover Park to lift its ban

Four weeks ago, Jim Cremeens went to Glendale Heights to pick up the ice cream truck he drives in his retirement.

Cremeens typically sells ice cream in his hometown of Elgin, but often visits neighborhoods in Hanover Park on the ride from Glendale Heights.

But that day, several Hanover Park squad cars surrounded his truck. By the time they left, police had issued Creemens two citations for operating without a permit.

"Come on, you're going to give the ice cream man a ticket?" Cremeens said.

When he tried to obtain a permit, Cremeens was told that ice cream trucks were banned in Hanover Park. Dismissive responses from village officials of his further inquiries led Cremeens to take his case to the village board June 21. Still, nothing came of his efforts.

Now Creemens is intent on reversing the village's ban. It's a battle he's waged successfully before - in April, he persuaded Elgin to repeal its ban on ice cream trucks.

"This is something that the public wants," Cremeens said. "Everywhere I go, I'm greeted with open arms."

But winning over officials in Hanover Park may not be so easy. Mayor Rod Craig strongly opposes a repeal.

"As long as I'm the mayor, I will not support ice cream trucks," Craig said.

Hanover Park's ban on ice cream trucks spans decades. Its origin stems from a tale circulating in the area.

As legend has it, a Carpentersville boy was killed more than 20 years ago by an ice cream truck. Although no documentation confirms the story, local mayors and board members still cite it as reason for upholding the ban.

"Many years ago, I remember a young person was killed running up to an ice cream truck cruising up and down the street in Carpentersville," Craig said. "I don't want to open us up to that vulnerability, or I can't sleep at night."

Cremeens disputes this, saying ice cream trucks' low speed and surrounding mirrors allow drivers a heightened sense of awareness.

"I'm going 3 miles an hour; I'm not going to kill anybody," he said.

Creemens plans to write village board members in hopes he can win them over.

And he'll be back before the panel at its meeting on July 19.

Some members of the board may be more open to repeal than Craig is.

Trustee Herb Porter, for one, said he is willing to discuss it, although he'd like to have reasons for and against ice cream trucks presented to the board. He also said he wants to review the experiences of the villages and towns that have changed their policy.

"Things change and things evolve, and I'm open to the discussion," Porter said.

"On the face, I think ice cream trucks are pretty harmless."

Creemens encouraged residents to support his efforts by calling trustees.

"Ice cream trucks are part of Americana," he said.

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