MONTROSE — Montrose village officials want the owners of the former Lions Den adult-oriented store to remove a large sign in front of the store now that it is apparent the store will not reopen after a lengthy court battle.

Village President Dennis Fletcher said he planned to contact Illinois Department of Transportation personnel. It is Fletcher’s hope IDOT will contact owners of Ohio-based Lions Den to have the sign removed. He outlined his plans at Monday’s village board meeting.

Fletcher said large trucks continue to travel Interstate 70 frontage road, drawn by a sign that says “Adult Entertainment.” After the store closed in 2005, the sign was covered by a large tarp. But a windstorm blew off the tarp earlier this year to expose the now-misleading sign.

“Truckers are still going up that road,” Fletcher said. “They’ll get out of their truck and try to open the door. Of course, we don’t like looking at it, but the main reason we want the sign taken down is because trucks are still tearing up the road.”

Fletcher said the village spent thousands of dollars to refurbish the road after the Lions Den closed. Since the sign was exposed, however, the constant parade of long-haul trucks is causing potholes on a road with a 10-ton load limit, he said.

Fletcher said the village is getting IDOT involved after resident Barb Gillam, a vocal Lions Den opponent, found a provision in the IDOT administrative code that questions whether a business can legally have a sign in front of a building that has been abandoned for at least a year.

Lions Den opened in early 2003 on the north frontage road. After vocal opposition from many village officials and residents and a subsequent court battle, Judge James Eder ordered the store be closed in July 2005 after finding the store’s location violated state law by being too close to the village park.

In action taken Monday, the board voted 4-0 to pay Thoele Concrete Construction $3,920 for renovation of the concrete area in front of village hall. Trustee Eric Esker said the project should be completed by the end of the year.

Esker, who works for a concrete company, abstained from voting. Trustee Sally Hilton was absent because she is recovering from surgery.


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