Centre of Elgin might be renamed after Schock
City officials are proposing renaming the Centre of Elgin recreation center after former Mayor Edward Schock.
A lifelong resident of Elgin, Schock served on the city council for 18 years until 2011, the last 12 years as mayor -- the longest continuous tenure as mayor in the city's history. The "Edward Schock Centre of Elgin" renaming proposal is on the agenda for the city council's committee of the whole meeting Wednesday.
"I think it's a well-deserved honor for former Mayor Schock," said Mayor David Kaptain, to whom Schock lost his re-election bid.
Schock, who couldn't be reached for comment Monday, was described as a "a tireless advocate" for Elgin by Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley in a memo to the city council.
Schock advocated for the building of the Centre, which opened in November 2002. Other projects under his tenure included the building of the police station and two fire stations, improvements to the riverfront, the revitalization of downtown, the building of Festival Park and the development of two city golf courses. He also was instrumental in establishing the city's code enforcement department, now called code compliance.
The renaming idea came from local author and publisher George Rawlinson, who said he first presented it to former City Manager Sean Stegall, who was supportive but ended up leaving Elgin in 2016.
Rawlinson said he then approached Kaptain, who was "120 percent behind it." City Manager Rick Kozal confirmed via email everything was set to go in late July, Rawlinson said. Rawlinson said he was told Cogley and Kozal met for lunch with Schock, who was "initially astonished" then "humbled" by the proposal.
"I think it's so well deserved. Ed Schock has meant so very, very much to this community," Rawlinson said. "Not just as an elected officials, but as an educator and as a community contributor."
The renaming is expected to cost about $25,000: $20,000 for new signs, markers and a plaque, and $5,000 for a ceremony and reception.
"I think that's fine," Kaptain said. "As long as it doesn't get into six digits for what we are trying to do down there, I don't think people are going to object too much."
Elgin's municipal complex was renamed after former Councilman Robert Gilliam in 2014 at a similar cost.
City officials last year discussed selling naming rights for parks and recreation facilities. A request for proposals was issued July 10, but it was canceled eight days later.