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Signs cause hours of debate

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

The red wood signs that mark entrances to Cook County forest preserves will be replaced by 5-foot-long purple aluminum signs on posts made of recycled plastic.

Commissioners approved the signs Wednesday only after an hour of arguing about whether board president John Stroger's name should appear on the bottom right corner.

That's in addition to the two hours of debate they had in previous meetings.

"This is utterly ridiculous that we're spending this much time on this sign," Commissioner Earlean Collins (D-Chicago).

The new signs will be a vinyl decal glued onto an aluminum plate. They feature the name of the preserve across the top and a large forest preserve seal in the middle. The words "Forest Preserve District of Cook County" are in the bottom left corner, and Stroger's name and "Board of Commissioners" is in the bottom right.

The decals will be graffiti proof, district staff said. The board approved advertising for bids Wednesday, and staff estimates each sign will cost $300.

About 90 signs will go up right away to replace wooden signs that have fallen apart. Eventually, all wooden signs will be replaced.

Commissioners were worried about the large blank spaces on either side of the forest preserve seal.

"Those blank spaces are really tempting to young people to paint something," Commissioner Bobbie Steele (D-Chicago) said.

Supt. Steve Bylina said the blank spaces were needed to post graphics from other agencies, such as the Audubon Society, who have sponsored projects at certain preserves.

Commissioner Mike Quigley said he wanted the signs to include a phone number or Web site where visitors could submit complaints about district conditions. Bylina promised to look into that before the district bought the signs.

Three commissioners voted to remove Stroger's name from the sign, saying it would be too expensive to replace all of them when a new president takes office.

They were Commissioners Anthony Peraica (R-Riverside), who is running for Stroger's seat; Carl Hansen (R-Mount Prospect) and Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-Orland Park), who was the only commissioner to vote against buying the signs altogether.



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