Gazebo

Kankakee High School student Alexis Zunke picks up one of the last remnants of the gazebo at Depot Park in Kankakee which was demolished by Kankakee High School students on Wednesday afternoon. The gazebo was a gift from David Letterman to the City of Kankakee.

Well, one out of two ain't bad.

The saga of the great Kankakee gazebo debate continued Monday when the Kankakee Valley Park District voted against handing over its Letterman gazebo to a group of Kankakee High School students.

It was earlier this year when the group of students approached the city of Kankakee asking to wrest control of the gazebos for an unusual class project: tear them down and make a rocking chair for the late night king, David Letterman, who is retiring this season.

It was Letterman who fired the first shot, "gifting" the city with twin gazebos back in 2000 to poke fun at the city's poor standing among cities nationwide.

The students agreed to re-gift the gag gifts but erred in not approaching the park district right away. The one that was once in the depot downtown (it has since been demolished) was city property. The one in Cobb Park belongs to the park district.

Bill Curtin, one of the high school teachers working on the gazebo project, said there is more than enough wood to make the rocking chair and said the students plan to build a memorial bench for the school's grounds.

The school also plans on giving away commemorative pieces of the gazebo to those who hold sentimental value to it.

In response to the park district vote, Executive Director Roy Collins issued this statement: 

"The KVPD board of commissioners applaud the students at Kankakee High School for their energy, enthusiasm and professional presentation of the gazebo project. After much discussion we don't feel destroying a gazebo in the city's most historic park that has been a photo-op destination for amateur and professional photographers and where many of marriages have taken place is warranted.

"The KVPD has embraced the Cobb Park gazebo, maintained it and landscaped around it and it is one of the beautiful features Cobb Park. We thank Dave Letterman for his gift and for all the happy memories it has helped create for many in our community."

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