Sugar Grove Christmas sign removal prompts action

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. -- For the last three years, Sugar Grove resident Karen McCannon has been part of a village committee that decorates this tree at the corner of Cross Street and Route 47.

Next to it was this "Merry Christmas" sign--until someone called and complained.

"I was stunned that we have a village that has nearly 9,000 people, and one person can dictate to those 9,000 people," McCannon said.

Sugar Grove Administrator Brent Eichelberger sent WGN this statement about the sign controversy, saying:

"The village attorney has advised us to be very strict in the enforcement of signage regulations, particularly signs located in right-of-ways or on village-controlled property.  With rare exception, the village cannot regulate signs based on content. If the sign in question was allowed, then other signs would need to be allowed as well."

"The issue is that last year we didn't have any problems," McCannon said.

So the residents got thinking and paid a visit to Rich's Auto Service and Towing across the street. Russ Wendling, the owner, said he would be "absolutely" interested in putting up a sign.

The sign now sits in front of Wendling's shop, facing traffic.

"People see it whether they want to or not, because they're parked here," said Joe Didier, a Sugar Grove resident.

It's a small victory for McCannon, as she hopes to continue to spread holiday cheer in Sugar Grove.

"I just want us to be able to say Merry Christmas," Karen said.

Organizers say a local sign company is making more signs so residents and businesses can put them up on their own private property.