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."


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 in front of the village hall.

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The board voted to keep the sign honoring the former mayor, who was in January 2010 and served time in federal prison, being

However, one year later, after Trustee Rosemary Palicki joined the board, the sign came up for a vote again, and and 

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 , 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.

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Harry Gio May 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I think they should have another 700 meetings to discuss this new sign in greater detail... Maybe they forgot something... Enough already ! Let's move on ! It was a HUGE mistake to remove the sign in first place. This was simply a vendetta, which also hurt the family of our former mayor.
Harry Gio May 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Shame on those that have an axe to grind with an 84 year old man that did so, so much good; making the Village of Niles what it is today ! OPAA to our beloved Nicholas B. Blase ! Hey, wait a minute... Maybe they should vote on the removal of the Leaning Tower YMCA, because it's leaning towards Nick's house, which could possibly be some sore of bow it's taking; honoring the former mayor... You never know... Maybe after a few hundred more meetings they might think that's true...LOL !!!
Harry Gio May 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM
The NEW sign looks like the Culver's sign on Dempster... I guess the Village Board stayed up ALL NIGHT after another 700 meetings to design it... Just terrible.
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