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Mount Prospect starts to map out Lee DeWyze Day
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/5/2010 12:00 AM

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Instead of fiscal projections, Mount Prospect trustees flipped through "American Idol" notes on Tuesday and began to tackle what it would mean - and cost - to throw a hometown celebration for Lee DeWyze.

"Everyone I talk to says he's a lock for the final three," said Village Manager Mike Janonis. "This is very positive for the village, but it does present some challenges. The wild card for the village is the weather because we have no indoor facility."

The weather might be the biggest wild card, but it's certainly not the only one.

"American Idol" hometown celebrations are given to the top three contestants on the show. If DeWyze, 24, makes it that far May 12, Mount Prospect will have a two days to throw together the daylong event, which has attracted up to 20,000 fans.

Idol producers won't talk to Mount Prospect officials until DeWyze makes it into the final four, which will be announced tonight. They do know Fox won't chip in and Mount Prospect can't charge admission to any of the events to help cover costs, according to a village memo.

The day could cost between $10,000 and $40,000, although village officials are looking into corporate sponsorships to help defray the costs, Janonis said.

After talking leaders in other cities that have hosted hometown celebrations, Mount Prospect sketched out a proposed itinerary, which includes a morning in Chicago where DeWyze would talk to television and radio stations and sing the national anthem at the May 14 Cubs game. DeWyze would return to Mount Prospect in the afternoon for an appearance at Prospect High School and concert at Melas Park, which can accommodate 25,000 people.

Hosting "DeWyze Day" on a Friday compared to a weekend is tricky. For example, the Melas concert would end about the time local schools get out and rush hour begins, Janonis said.

Janonis is also in contact with Metra and Pace to see if they can increase transportation into Mount Prospect on May 14 since parking will be limited.

Mayor Irvana Wilks suggested opening up the emergency command center to use as a headquarters.

"Essentially, we would operate this like it were an emergency," she said

Some residents will be critical about spending so much money on one person, said Trustee John Matuszak.

However, Wilks said the majority of Mount Prospect residents are in favor of "Lee DeWyze Day."

"I'm just so excited, I think this will be fabulous for the village," Wilks said. "It's like an unexpected tribute to our village."