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New Niles Sign Replaces Controversial One

It replaces the sign with dishonored former mayor Nicholas Blase's name on it. The decision to remove the Blase sign stirred up huge controversy; some wanted to recognize his accomplishments.

After a controversy erupted over whether to remove the old sign outside Niles village hall, a new one has quietly replaced it.

The new sign says "Village of Niles" in large white letters with "Inc. 1899"  and the village's slogan, "Where People Count," beneath it. The village has erected it on the small plaza where the former sign, which read "Nicholas B. Blase Plaza," stood. 

Trustee Rosemary Palicki headed a committee charged with designing the sign, which contains images of Niles' version of the Leaning Tower and a white oak tree.

Earlier: Committee proposes new Niles plaza sign 

The committee, on which George Alpogianis, a former trustee, and Thomas Kanelos, the plan commission chair, also serve, is accepting designs for a sculpture or other artwork emphasizing the theme of family, which would also be erected on the plaza. 

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The decision to remove the Blase sign stirred controversy for more than a year. When the Niles village board first considered it in September 2010, some trustees argued that Blase, who served as Niles mayor for 47 years, accomplished a great deal and should be honored with the sign despite the fact he was sentenced to federal prison for fraud in a kickback scheme.

Earlier: Blase served time in prison for decades-long wrongdoing; happy to be released 

Earlier: Trustees vote to keep Blase sign (Sept. 2010) 

The following year, however, after Palicki became a trustee, the board considered the issue again and voted to remove the sign.

A Patch poll on the issue found 58 percent of respondents agreed with the decision. 

The new sign cost $7,500, including installation, according to the Niles Herald-Spectator. 

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