After Controversy, Niles May Get New Sign
Controversy erupted when the Niles board voted to keep a sign honoring corrupt former Mayor Nicholas Blase in 2010, then remove it in 2011. A new design is being proposed.
A Niles controversy may come to an end tonight, when the village board is scheduled to vote on a recommendation for a new sign for the entrance plaza to village hall.
Trustee Rosemary Palicki, who chaired a three-person committee exploring options for the sign, said the proposed design includes a white oak tree as a symbol of strength, stability and dedication to the environment. There's also an image of the Leaning Tower as a nod to the past, recreation and functionality, and the village's motto, "Where People Count."
Earlier: 58% Agree With Blase Sign Removal
The committee also wants to hold a contest for high school students to submit designs for a sculpture that would also sit on the plaza, near the sign.
"The piece of artwork would reflect a family theme," said Palicki. It ties into the Bloomberg award Niles received for being the best place in the nation to raise a family.
Sign aroused controversy
The sign issue has a dramatic past. Emotions ran high in Niles in September 2010, when the village board split on whether to remove the "Nicholas B. Blase Plaza" sign in front of the village hall.
Colors to reflect surrounding buildings
Palicki, former trustee George Alpogianis and Tom Kanelos, chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee, served on a committee to design a new sign for the plaza. They unanimously supported the new design, Palicki said.
The sign will be about four feet tall and six feet wide, in order to leave room for the sculpture and, in December, the holiday decorations the village puts on the plaza. The sign itself will be driftwood gray, with a color scheme of the bright blue that colors the surrounding village building exteriors.
Sculpture contest could start in fall
The committee is seeking the board's approval at tonight's meeting to go ahead with the sculpture and sculpture contest, Palicki said. If it's granted, the village would solicit submissions after school starts in the fall. Private donations would be raised to cover the cost of the sculpture, she said, and village funds would not be used for it.
"This ties in with the village's 2030 (Comprehensive) Plan, to incorporate more art," Palicki said.
If the board approves the sign tonight, it would then go out to bid, and could possibly be in place by fall. The sculpture would take longer.
The committee is hoping for the board to make a decision on whether to pursue both the sign and sculpture, so they know where to position the sign, she said. If they reject the sculpture idea, then the sign would be centered in the plaza island. If the board okays the sculpture, then the sign would be placed off-center to leave room for the sculpture.