Missing sign upsets Kankakee alumni

August 29, 2018

The old sign honoring the Spurs who built Kankakee School District’s high school football field disappeared at some point in the last few months.

The Spurs volunteered their services in the 1960s and 1970s to make the field a reality. Their adult children are wondering what happened to the sign.

At Monday’s school board meeting, St. Anne Township resident Jim Wasser said he and another resident spoke with school district officials about the sign, which included nearly 200 names of Spurs. The officials informed them that the sign, erected in 1999, had been thrown away.

In its place, the school district has proposed a plaque referring to Kays Stadium (replacing Spurs Stadium) and Spurs Field. The plaque would include the names of the Spurs.

Wasser, whose father was a Spur, said the district destroyed history “regardless of reason or motive.” He urged the board to put a new sign back in its “rightful place,” next to the main gate entrance.

“Our sign represents history,” Wasser told the school board. “This new plaque design option certainly doesn’t reflect history. We hear much rhetoric about preserving our Kankakee School District’s long and rich history. Well, here is your opportunity.”

Last year, the high school converted the field to artificial turf and added other amenities, which the Spurs’ children said they appreciated. More than 20 of them showed up at Monday’s meeting, which took place in the library at Kankakee Junior High.

Mark Buck, a 1971 graduate who now lives in Florida, implored the board to re-install a similar sign. He said it was more than just listing the names of dead people.

“Please envision not just a sign, but an important reminder that working together as one community with strong partnerships can impact so many lives,” Buck said. “Kankakee would be a much worse-off place if not for the examples of the enormous teamwork of the all-inclusive Spurs for the student body.”

Board President Barbara Wells said the board’s Facilities and Finance Committee will take up the issue at a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 217 of the Lincoln Cultural Center, 240 Warren Ave.

After Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Genevra Walters said the Spurs sign was damaged and the intention was to re-create a new one. Unfortunately, she said, the old sign was thrown out before a new one could be made.

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