Two Mt. Morris residents raised various concerns to the village board at its July 14 meeting including the One Nation Under God sign at the band shell, the rental fence at the Penner building site and no parking signs around town.
Chris Corcoran and Clark Faris spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Faris took issue with the village’s plan to put up signs that say “One Nation Under God” rather than the paint that’s been used in recent years.
“I’d rather paint it than drill holes,” Faris said. “You spend $200 every few years to have it repainted. You’re destroying the band shell, putting holes in it. I’m disappointed in everything going around in this village.”
Village Trustee Jerry Stauffer said the signs are already made and will be put up when time and manpower allows. “One Nation Under God” has been on the band shell for 30-40 years, Stauffer said. Signs were originally used instead of paint.
“I wanted the original style,” Stauffer said. “It makes maintenance easier in the future. That plaster is old and it keeps peeling. I can take the signs down and it will be OK. It’s not going to hurt the plaster to mount them.”
Corcoran brought up the issue of the rental fence at the former site of the Penner building, which is being paid for up front by the city to protect the public. Village President Dan Elsasser said there are “a lot of legal issues” with the fence.
The wall at the location is not in good condition, Stauffer said. Engineers say it needs to be barricaded for safety purposes. Stauffer said he hasn’t “looked into” the cost of the fence.
“I don’t think it takes 18 months to repair that wall,” Corcoran said. “We have to stop paying rent on that fence. We could’ve owned a couple of them fences by now. We should’ve bought a chain link ourselves. There’s been nothing done with it.”
Stauffer said the cost of the fence could be reimbursed to the city in the future.
“Nothing is set in stone about who is paying for what yet,” Stauffer said. “We’ve been paying upfront. It doesn’t mean we can’t charge it back when things come together. There are a lot of issues to come together up there. It’s never that simple. We’re doing everything we can to move things forward downtown.”
Corcoran’s other concern was no parking signs throughout town, that he says were put in when there were more industrial employers in town. He says there’s no point to them now.
“I do not see why we need them throughout town,” Corcoran said. “People can’t find places to park, especially during the holidays. I feel strongly that we need to remove them.”
Stauffer said he doesn’t believe Mt. Morris has an abnormal number of no parking signs compared to similarly-sized villages.
“If a car was parked in front of Chris’s house and there was one parked on the other side of the street, you couldn’t get a fire truck through,” Stauffer said. “It’s a safety thing.”
Both Corcoran and Faris raised their voices while speaking at the meeting. Faris left the room after the public comment session. Corcoran stayed until after the meeting, when he got into a verbal altercation with Trustee Mike Fay.
“People of Mt. Morris need to speak up in their village,” Corcoran said. “If you have something to say, say it. Because that’s how things change.”