Norman Bakos, president of a Lovejoy District community group, has been told he no longer represents the group on the issue of the Hennepin Park Community Center.
Not so, Bakos replied Thursday, saying he was duly authorized and will continue to campaign in favor of revising the plans for the center, which he calls inadequate for senior citizens.
Replacement of part of the building and renovations costing more than $2 million are scheduled to get under way in May.
Bakos, a former Common Council member, is serving his first term as president of the East Lovejoy Business and Taxpayers Association and thinks the plans for the center, as presented by the current Lovejoy Council member, Richard Fontana, are inadequate.
He said he was authorized to represent the association on the matter and has called a public meeting for 7 p.m. Tuesday in School 43 to discuss the issue. The meeting remains scheduled, he said.
However, Arthur Hardie, a member of the executive board, said he polled the board and has sent Bakos a letter saying the board "has voted to remove you as their representative" concerning the center.
It further states that Bakos does not represent the board's view and tells him to "please cease and desist all activities" concerning the center.
Hardie said all 11 board members he was able to reach (out of a total board of 17) were unanimous and would like to see the meeting canceled.
"I like Norm, but he does things and tells you about them later. He keeps coming up with little things (concerning the plans) that don't make any difference," Hardie said. "This project has been dragging on for almost nine years, and we just want to get it built."
But Bakos said that he will not back down and that there is no provision in the association bylaws for Hardie to take the action he did.
Bakos said that on Jan. 23 the executive board voted 5-4 (with him casting the deciding vote) to authorize him to accept or reject a negotiated compromise on plans for the center and/or call a public meeting for further discussions.
Hardie said board members have had second thoughts concerning the fact that the vote involved a one-part answer to a two-part question and are concerned that a public meeting will reopen the entire issue and result in further delays.
But Bakos said, "People will accept a chicken coop just to get it done" and insisted the current design needs to be improved upon to provide more room for some activities and less for others.
He acknowledged that the changes would cause a three-month delay and cost an additional $300,000 but said it is worth it to do it right.
Fontana said some of Bakos' recommendations, such as a bigger kitchen and bathrooms, have been incorporated into the plans but further design changes are too costly and unnecessary.