Haunted woods opens to public Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Cassey Attebery's Sherrard High School class came up with a time sensitive fund-raising idea that became quite the learning experience for the 12 students in her marketing class.

A haunted forest is taking place above an abandoned Coal Mine just off Knoxville road on 63rd St. about a quarter mile from the Sherrard Cemetery. Proceeds from visiting the haunted forest this Friday or Saturday, Oct. 23=24, will be given to charity. Part of the proceeds will go to Support the Troops, and part to Viola Food Pantry.

Planning began around a month ago, with Attebery offering a four-acre spot  in Milan for the students to use as a haunted forest.

The students had to come up with a business and marketing plan. This was one of the more complex jobs Attebery has had students attempt.  "We had to get approval from the principal and the school board," said Attebery, but in addition, there were a lot of other individuals involved.

Students had to talk to the Rock Island County Zoning Board about the event and getting a special use permit. Since the proceeds were going to go to charity, the permit became a non-issue. The Zoning Board did want the students to talk to neighbors to get their approval by signing a petition. So they talked to all the neighbors.

"I haven't had to do this much networking before," said Attebery, who also teaches an Applied Economics Class at Sherrard.

"I've been very impressed with all the people wanting to help the students," she said. "I can't get over how nice and helpful people are in the community."

The Milan site fell through, then they thought about doing the project in some woods behind the high school, but that became problematic because the nearby farmers hadn't harvested the corn yet.

Attebery said School Board member Larry Stone had an idea for the project to talk to Sherrard's Mayor Terry Ayers. The mayor offered the village burn dump area, where downed storm branches are hauled and burned outside the village limits.

"They took us out there and it looks like it's going to work. There is an area for a bonfire, places to park and the area police have offered to have extra coverage over the weekend."