Donor to pay for caboose repairs

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Thanks to a donation from village resident Mike Crowley, the caboose next to the depot will be getting spruced up.

Village President Alan Rudnick told the Village Board Monday that Crowley agreed to donate the money to paint and fix up the retired Soo Line caboose.

“We’ve been talking a little bit about the condition of the caboose. It does need some help,” Rudnick told the board’s Administration and Finance Committee. “We have to shore it up a bit and paint it.”

The village president explained that he had begun to make contacts about raising money for the work – with the village budgeting $5,000 for it this year – when Crowley contacted Village Administrator/Clerk/ Treasurer Jessica Reilly to find out how much the project will cost.

After Reilly told him the estimated cost is around $25,000, Rudnick related, “(He) said ‘I’ll write a check for it.’”

Trustee Pam Garton asked if fixing the interior of the caboose would be part of the work. Reilly responded that, because of safety and insurance liability issues, the interior of the caboose is not open to the public.

“Is it worth it, doing this, if nobody can go inside,” Garton asked.

“It is worth it for the people who look at it and walk around it,” responded Trustee Lynn Shovan. She pointed out that many people – including some wedding parties – take pictures of or in front of the caboose.

“People love the caboose,” Rudnick added.

He said that railroad restoration specialist Glenn Guerra of Guerra Museum Services in Plymouth – who restored the Interurban Car No. 26 now on display at the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum – will consult with the village on the work.

The board approved a street name request from Victory Development, but not without some opposition.

Victory was requesting that the proposed extension of Chicago Street north of Rhine Street in their planned development be named Victory Lane instead of Chicago Street.

Reilly noted that the village ordinance requires any continuation of a street retain the same street name unless the Village Board approves a change.

“That is my only point, do we follow the ordinance,” Garton stated.

“It’s going to be a lot easier to market Victory Lane as opposed to Chicago Street, which really means nothing,” Lola Roeh of Victory explained, citing the village’s racing heritage. “From a marketing sense, Chicago Street makes no sense. What does Chicago Street mean?”

She also noted that a different name for the street north of Rhine Street would preclude the necessity of changing addresses on the current Chicago Street to South Chicago Street, as the extension would become North Chicago Street in keeping with other north-south streets that cross Rhine Street.

Garton noted that Police Chief Michael Meeusen supported carrying the Chicago Street name north of Rhine Street to prevent confusion.

Roeh pointed to three other instances in the village where street names do not continue past an intersection. Garton responded that those probably occurred before the village adopted the subdivision ordinance Reilly had cited.

“So we would just have a short street that’s called Chicago Street and the rest would be Victory Lane?” Trustee Steve Kapellen asked.

“The ordinance gives us the option to change that,” Trustee Richard Sadiq pointed out. “They are making a substantial investment here.”

Sadiq’s motion to allow the name change passed by a vote of 5-2, with Garton and Richard Baumann voting no.

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