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Pritzker protest sign.jpg

A resident holds a yard sign opposing the outdoor shooting range that is part of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library project proposed for Somers.

Pritzker protest sign.jpg

SOMERS — The outdoor clay target course has been pulled from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library proposal in response to opposition from the public.

Mary Parthe, chief of staff for Tawani Enterprises, developer for the project, sent an email to Somers trustee Jackie Nelson Tuesday, suggesting a meeting be held with concerned community members and representatives from the day care and church near the proposed museum at Highway E and I-94.

“They want to talk about the importance of the rest of the development and see how that goes,” Nelson said.

Nelson presented the email to the Village Board at its work session Tuesday night.

“We would suggest the basis of the meeting is really to allow the community to interact with our project team, allow us to present in a positive, dialogue-oriented environment, suggest alternative options for firearms recreation activities (such as an enclosed clays target facility) and take questions from the community, all with the understanding that the outdoor clays course is off the table,” the email reads.

The majority of residents who spoke at the public hearing voiced support for the museum, library, archival space, Cold War memorial and outdoor green space portions for the plan. Some also voiced support for the indoor firearm education and training center.

Parthe said the community meetings will help them understand what the issues are so they can “evaluate if it makes sense for us to move forward with the application process.”

Nelson said Parthe followed up with a telephone call, saying she wanted to have an informal meeting with residents, with village officials invited to attend as well.

Residents and trustees in attendance at Tuesday’s work session were pleased with the news.

“I am kind of pleasantly surprised to hear this email,” trustee Gregg Sinnen said. “I’m all for it.”

Village President George Stoner suggested the meeting be set up within the next several weeks.

“That was the only thing we heard last night that nobody wanted was the sporting clays,” Stoner said.

Two phases

The other portions of the plan are proposed to be developed in two phases:

Phase 1 would start immediately and conclude within three years. This phase includes construction of the archives, workspace and gallery center and the publicly accessible green space.

Phase 2 would start within five years and include the Cold War memorial and the commercial archives.

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library Chicago, opened in 2003, was founded by retired Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker, who has assembled a major collection of books and other materials on military history.

The mission of the museum and library, located at 104 S. Michigan Ave., is to:

Acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials.

Develop programs focusing on the citizen soldier in the preservation of democracy.

Increase the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served.

The museum campus being proposed in Somers would not replace the Chicago museum. Rather, it would help the museum expand its collection and services.

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