'Freedom Corridor' honoring veterans taking shape in St. Charles

  • A "Freedom Corridor" honoring veterans along Route 31 is taking shape in St. Charles.

    A "Freedom Corridor" honoring veterans along Route 31 is taking shape in St. Charles. Courtesy of St. Charles Veterans Center

Posted11/25/2020 5:25 AM

The "Freedom Corridor" is taking shape in St. Charles.

Vanessa Bell-LaSota, a representative from the St. Charles Veterans Center, appeared before Monday's St. Charles Government Services Committee meeting to deliver a presentation on the vision to honor veterans along the northern corridor of Route 31 between the Railroad Trestle and State Street.


The veterans center already began designing the "Freedom Corridor" by installing 14 banners, sponsored by local businesses and individuals, that feature images of current St. Charles veterans post members on seven light poles along Route 31. The veterans center aims to expand the program with additional banners, a possible gateway structure and other informational signage.

"The banners function as placeholders for banners we anticipate will be ordered by residents," Bell-LaSota said. "These banners serve to define the corridor as a destination in our community."

As new banners are ordered by residents and created, current banners will be taken down, Bell-LaSota said. The goal is to create six-month windows to display each new batch of banners, one from Veterans Day to Memorial Day and the other from Memorial Day to Veterans Day.

The city council, however, must adjust its current policy allowing banners to be displayed for only 30 days. At Monday's meeting, the city's aldermen appeared in favor of the concept and expansion of the Freedom Corridor, as well as the necessary extension for banner displays.

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"Great idea, Vanessa," Ward 2 Alderman Rita Payleitner said to Bell-LaSota. "And I know that your artist heart will make sure this looks fantastic."

Bell-LaSota said the program was inspired by correspondence between a St. Charles resident and Mayor Ray Rogina, who then developed the idea last year with Bell-LaSota.

Ordering a banner costs $75, a price that includes a scaled-down version of the banner and three prints of the banner for the person ordering. In addition to the image of the veteran, the banner features their branch of service, dates of service and highest military decorations.

Orders can be placed through the St. Charles Veterans Center, (630) 377-9845 or stcharlesveteranscenter.org.

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