[Regarding “The Bigger Picture: Local Historians Reflect on the Vance Monument, One Year After Its Removal,” May 25, Xpress:] Lauding the obelisk removal without context won’t erase history. The “story” Councils have told locals, newcomers and tourists alike for nearly 30 years is “We’re paving paradise to install a downhill water slalom from Pritchard Park to the county jail.”
First, Pritchard was paved; second, the reflection pool evaporated. Third, grass with trees and wildlife was concreted to make Pack Square “Park,” a couple metal benches too cold to sit on in winter, too hot for summer sitting, bolted down for macabre effect. The final piece in the “anywhere USA aesthetic” has concluded with the dismantling of a time capsule dressed in ancient Egyptian fashion at Pack Square, done with such haste it’s partial and in legal limbo.
The “story” is: “nothing to see here,” the Chamber of Commerce brochure long hence having ceased resembling reality. Successive Councils have refused to fund an urban forester, urban forest plan or grow-grants to recoup loss — concrete obviously deemed cheaper to hose down than trees cultivated to prevent flooding and preserve town character.
The “story” Pack Square could tell? “We validate the obelisk’s magical geometry. We’ll reerect it without a plaque. But we’ve doubled-down: We’re proud to be a Tree City USA; we passed a Tree Protection Ordinance. Shade beneath the hearty native trees we planted around it!”
— Queen Lady Passion (Dixie Deerman)