How some village parks, buildings are named
Marty Neal of Libertyville in the park named after his late father and former Libertyville Mayor Paul M. Neal, located on New Castle Drive. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:47PM
LIBERTYVILLE — Duane Laska Park, Copeland Elementary, Butler Lake, the Schertz Building. They are all places familiar to Libertyville residents. But who are they named after and why?
Jim Moran, a village trustee and vice president of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, helped shed some light on the issue. Moran has been a student of local history since he got involved with the society at the age of 8.
“Right now, there aren’t any conditions or criteria to get something named after someone,” Moran said. “Requests are presented to the Village Board, we vote on it.”
Though there are no stringent rules, distinguished service to the community seems to be an unspoken requirement. For instance, there are five parks named after former mayors, Duane Laska Park on Garfield Avenue being the most recent. Laska still lives in Libertyville today. He was mayor from 1997 to 2005.
Marty Neal’s father, Paul M. Neal, is another former mayor whose name graces a local park. Neal Park is located inside a housing subdivision at 1251 New Castle Drive.
“I remember when they dedicated it,” Neal said. “It was a big to-do. Our whole family was there.”
Today, Neal says people sometimes still ask if he’s the same Neal the park is named after. Neal’s father was mayor from 1980 to 1988.
Sometimes a park is named after an organization that donated money to refurbish it. Sunrise Rotary Park at Milwaukee and Broadway is one such example.
Financing is currently playing a role in the naming of the Libertyville Sports Complex at Peterson Road and Route 45. Its naming rights are for sale, Moran said.
Conrad “Connie” Kowal, Director of Recreation & Sports Complex, said this is a marketing and advertising opportunity for interested companies and would be an added revenue source for the village.