A summer walk - and talk about big Fourth of July plans
By Mike Danahey email@example.com May 30, 2012 8:40PM
NENA President Jeff Gill, center, speaks next to Mayor Dave Kaptain, left, and Elgin Police Officer Ken Ericson, right, during a Walk with the Mayor walk starting at St. Francis Park in Elgin, Ill., on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:03AM
ELGIN — Summer was on Mayor Dave Kaptain’s mind Wednesday as he took part in a late-afternoon press conference about the collaborative Northwest Fourth Fest, then strode off to the city’s northeast side for the first outing in the new Walk With the Mayor program.
The holiday event is billing itself as “The Burbs’ Biggest Fourth of July Celebration” and will be held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates July 4-8.
For the festivities, Elgin is teaming with host village Hoffman Estates plus Hanover Park and Hanover Township to cover costs and provide additional public works and public safety personnel.
Hoffman Estates Village President Bill McLeod said that the total bill for the happenings will be about $100,000. That includes $30,000 for fireworks and $10,000 for a light show.
Kaptain said Elgin will contribute $15,000 to the fireworks and light show, and expects personnel costs will run $5,000 for the city. Hanover Township Supervisor Brian McGuire said the township’s contribution will amount to about $5,000. And Hanover Park Village President Rodney Craig said that village is contributing $10,000 toward the fireworks and light show, and estimates $5,000 to $6,000 in personnel costs.
Hanover Park has not been holding a Fourth fireworks show, and Elgin last held one in 2008 at the Sports Complex on the far-west side. The Sports Complex butts up to the now-completed Highlands Golf Course, which disallows it as a spot for such a show in Elgin.
There also frequently were traffic issues when the complex was home to the event.
As for what is being planned this year, events will get under way July 4 at 9 a.m. with simultaneous parades in downtown Elgin and along Hassell Road in Hoffman Estates. A carnival on the Sears Centre grounds gets under way at 11 a.m. and will have hours through July 8. Fireworks and a light show are set for 9:30 p.m. on the Fourth. Local veterans groups will be taking part, too.
Bands include the Ambassadors and the Diamond Kings July 4; Beatles cover band American English July 5; Brian Lavender and an ABBA tribute band July 6; and M&R Rush and Survivor July 7.
Kaptain noted that Elgin-based entertainment will feature prominently on an ancillary stage. Acts include a Mexican folk ballet troupe, a church choir, the choral union and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
McLeod and Kaptain reminded that the ESO had performed with Fourth fireworks about a quarter century ago when the Poplar Creek Amphitheater offered such a show. If all goes well this time, both men hope that could become the case down the road for the event.
The Northwest Fourth Fest also will have a pavilion set up to offer libations and food from 20 local vendors, including some from Elgin. A sandbar area will offer volleyball and a covered bar featuring a variety of adult beverages including craft beers and tropical drinks, some named specially for the occasion.
If it gets too hot, the arena will feature a cooling area. Better yet, McLeod noted, the Centre’s indoor plumbing will be open to the public — and the building can provide shelter it weather turns stormy.
The music, fireworks and light show will be free, as will parking. Organizers estimate 6,000 spaces will be available including those in the arena’s lot and some nearby businesses will allowed to be used, particularly for the night of the Fourth.
“While we all work together on other projects, we’re excited at the prospect of working together on a fun event,” McLeod said. “And in this economy, it would be hard to do an event like this by ourselves.”
Inaugural Walk With Mayor
While people might not be able to walk a mile in his shoes, they can tag along with Kaptain as he strolls through Elgin neighborhoods on selected evenings this summer.
Wednesday night, Kaptain was joined by 15 walkers and a dog named Bailey as the inaugural Walk With the Mayor jaunt stepped off from St. Francis Park at 227 Jefferson Ave. Their ranks included four media workers; four people associated with the city and/or the program; Jeff Gill, who heads the Northeast Neighborhood Association; and six people with no ties to the event but there for the walk.
Mary Roberti and Pat Segel both said they were there to take in another part of Elgin, while Sandy Gorecki was there as part of a college homework assignment on living history.
The walking program’s intent is to encourage people to exercise and enjoy Elgin outdoors, Kaptain said. It is a joint effort of the city and Activate Elgin, an organization formed to promote community-wide health related endeavors.
Along the way, Gill pointed out notable facts about the neighborhood including that the park where it began once held St. Joseph’s Hospital and that demolition work on part of the empty Sherman Hospital campus is set to begin this summer.
Kaptain said he is an avid walker. He’s also been trying various means to get residents involved in their community, including community conversations and online chats.
Five additional walks are scheduled for the following Wednesdays: June 6 starting at Shamrock Park in the Waterford subdivision; July 18 at College Green Park in the College Green subdivision; Aug. 1 at Zion Lutheran Church in the Southwest Area Neighborhood (SWAN); Aug. 15 at Settlers Park in the Providence subdivision; and Sept. 5 at Unity Park in the Neighbors of South East Elgin (NOSEE) area. All walks are to begin at 6:30 p.m. and last about 45 minutes. More information is available by calling 847-931-6127.