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Hobart park board wants veterans group to come to meeting

Motorcycle riders wait for their turn roll out Wicker Park during 13th annual American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Associatifundraiser Highland. |

Motorcycle riders wait for their turn to roll out of Wicker Park during the 13th annual American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association fundraiser in Highland. | File~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 18, 2013 6:06AM



HOBART — A local veterans group will need to send a representative to the next Hobart Park Board meeting to answer questions regarding its inaugural motorcycle run fundraiser for Veterans Park held last summer, or risk not being able to have a second run this summer at Festival Park.

Board member Charlotte Sills had asked that the American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association Chapter 13 in Hobart send a spokesperson to its meeting this week to answer questions, including how much money the fundraiser raised.

The group’s commander, Ron “Doc” Bishop, told the City Council last year that every penny raised from the motorcycle run would go toward improving the city’s Veterans Park at 73rd Avenue and Indiana 51. But Sills said the parks department hasn’t received any money from the veterans group as yet, although the fundraiser was held in August.

When no one from the group showed at this week’s meeting, Sills asked that the board secretary to send the veterans group a letter stating someone needs to attend the next meeting, in January.

“If they can’t give us some answers, I don’t feel we should open the park for when they need it. If they won’t show up, they won’t have a ride there next year,” Sills said.

She said the group already has the park reserved for next year for its next motorcycle run.

Jerry Herzog, D-1st, the City Council’s representative to the park board, said there was a change in leadership in the veterans group.

Bishop concurred that there is a new commander, but said no one asked him to be at the meeting.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone from the park board,” Bishop said. “If I knew about it, I would have attended.”

He said the association has the money and will hold on to it until the new officers take over at the beginning of the year.

“We made a little bit of money from the run, but it was more of a break-even point,” Bishop said.

He wasn’t sure how much money the event raised, but Sills said she heard it was around $3,000 to $4,000.

The first motorcycle run also appeared to be in jeopardy for awhile when the park board raised concerns, including worries that a beer truck wouldn’t be removed in time for a wedding reception that took place at Festival Park the next day.

The park board also said the group had not gone to them for approval before planning the event.

Mayor Brian Snedecor called it a breakdown in communication at the time and said the event would take place as planned.

Bishop has said he would like to see more restrooms and benches at Veterans Park, as well as a band shell similar to the one at Festival Park, among other amenities.



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