Norman Bakos and his quest to revise the plans for the Hennepin Park Community Center both took a beating Tuesday night, and Bakos said he will abandon the effort.
Bakos, a former Common Council member and president of the East Lovejoy Business and Taxpayers Association, was repeatedly shouted down and subjected to abuse during the meeting, which drew about 40 people to the Monsignor Geary Center. Bakos resigned his post with the association today.
One man, Anthony Nadrozzi, said Bakos had no right to call the meeting and tried to unplug the public address system.
Several residents would not let Bakos forget the early 1990s controversy over several of his taxpayer-funded ventures, including the purchase of a rural resort.
"You stole all the money that should have gone here" for a senior center, resident Linda Duvall told Bakos.
"I'm no longer a public official. You can be sued," Bakos replied.
Bakos maintains that the plans for an addition and renovations to the center costing more than $2 million should be revised to provide more room for activities for senior citizens.
Changes would cost an additional $300,000 and delay the project by three months but would be worth it, he said.
He sponsored a nonbinding vote, and his plan was rejected, 16-2.
Many of those present called the vote a sham and tore up their ballots at the urging of Ann Marie Bologna, who dumped them on the table in front of Bakos.
Bakos said later he was disappointed with the outcome but accepted it and would inform city officials of the result.
"I wanted the issue raised in the community. I felt it was improper for City Hall to design the building without citizen input. Now they've had their chance," he said.
He said he had no response to the personal attacks made upon him.
"I'm out of politics now," he said.
In a letter today, Bakos said he was resigning, effective immediately, as president and executive board member of the association.
He said, "I hear and have a need to walk to the beat of a different drummer." He said the resignation will formally end more than 30 years of public service to the community.
Lovejoy Council Member Richard Fontana said he hopes work on the center can begin as scheduled in spring so residents can enjoy a top-notch center by December.