Build the Veterans Memorial in Mt. Prospect

Endorse this petition to build the Veterans Memorial in Mt. Prospect.

I object to the misleading ipetition currently circulating in Mt. Prospect. The author of this petition wants the planned building of the veterans’ memorial cancelled and the monies used elsewhere. This person’s skillfully worded commentary is full of carefully selected half-truths and conjecture. I object on a couple different levels and so should you. Here’s why…

The title of the ipetition is cleverly misleading…”no-600k-fountain-in-lions-park”. This wording implies that the Park District leadership wants to spend “$600,000 on a fountain in Lions Park”. The reader is lead to believe that the Park District Board is about to spend an excessive amount of money on a mere fountain. I would object to that too. For the record, the actual name of the project is the Mt. Prospect Veterans Memorial. It is NOT just a fountain and it is NOT $600,000!!! You should know that this project has been in the works at the MPPD for over 17 years. Visit this site to see what is finally planned as a memorial to our village veterans past, present and future. 

http://www.mppd.org/veteransmemorial/

Please read on --I will show below that the $600,000 figure is absolutely false! I will point out that “fiscal responsibility” is not the only type of responsibility required of our elected officials.

So, obviously without any previous knowledge of the veterans memorial project this person has determined it is not a good use of Park District funds and without the complete knowledge of the Park District board members, put up an online ipetition to stop even the initial “putting out for bid” process “before it is too late”. This person could not possibly know the exact cost but obviously believes that any expense is fiscally irresponsible when spent on a Veterans Memorial.

When I read the words on the misleading ipetition, it occurred to me that the driving force behind this purposeful attempt to mislead the reader is merely paying lip service to our veterans and couldn’t care less. Perhaps we should be kept in the background or until needed again to defend America’s freedoms.

The other petition states that the Park Board’s primary mission “should not be in the memorial business”. But are they in the education business? The board recently voted in favor of contributing ½ a million dollars of your Park District dollars (taxes) to the construction of a new artificial football field at Prospect High School. Is the Park District board also on the Board of Education?

The original ipetition says that the “fountain and memorial park” will cost the park district $600,000. Fact: the project has not yet gone out for bid. Without proper bids there is absolutely no way to determine the final cost. Where did the $600,000 cost figure come from?

Here’s where – Please bear with me as we dig through some numbers. The Director of Parks and Planning, at the January meeting, made a detailed presentation to the board of commissioners about the estimated expense of the project. He began with an estimated gross figure of $598,000. This number is now 8 months old. He then applied a 10% discount (or $59,800) for “standard contingency” which is always planned for but rarely actually spent. Next 15% off ($90,000) for the cost to demolish the garage that is currently on the land. Because the demolition would have to be done in any case, it cannot be applied to the memorial cost. $17,500 has already been received from veteran’s families who purchased memorial stones (bricks). The new net project cost is now $430,700.

There are other discounts to be applied like future brick sales (which will ultimately pay almost the whole cost) and the NWSRA (Northwest Special Recreation Association) who regularly contribute to Park District capital improvements when they are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) related. The design of the memorial is very ADA friendly so a NWSRA contribution of $25,000 is likely. So, let’s say now all the facts are in the net cost is $405,700...a far cry from the $600k the other petition author would lead you to believe. Incidentally, the actual cost of the fountain itself is $79,450. It is also very likely that bids prepared and submitted today will be decidedly more competitive because of the impact the economy is having on construction companies.

The most surprising and disturbing realization determined by reading the misleading petition is that the driving force is actually a Park District board commissioner. This commissioner was present when the project’s real cost numbers were presented. Why the accurate numbers and the proper description of the veterans’ memorial project were written to be misleading is anybody’s guess. It would seem that the wording is slanted to engage and enrage the reader for an unknown agenda. People fooled by this wording are being used!   I do not like the use of this type of tactic in our community.

Back to it --I appreciate that $405,700 is still a lot of money. The other petition suggests a needed restoration of the Surf Pool. I understand that there are always other practical places to spend the money. Consider this –There wouldn’t be a Surf Pool or anything else if it weren’t for the fighting men and women of this country. This project has taken a back seat for long enough! It is time to build it now! The Veterans Memorial (with fountain) is beautifully designed and will stand for many years as a testament to the respect and appreciation that the Mt Prospect residents have for their warriors. It will be a structure generations of Mt Prospect citizens will be proud of.

If you would like to look into buying a memorial brick, go to http://vfw1337.us/memorial.html

Veterans – it is time to be heard. Please fill in your name, address, and your email address. Please pass this along

Bill Starr

LTC, US Army Retired

Mt. Prospect, IL

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