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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Remove the statue

Tonight at 5:30 p.m. the La Crosse Board of Park Commissioners will decide whether or not to finally remove the large folk art statue that sits on the north edge of Riverside Park.

Somehow a high school art teacher has become an artistic saint whose work may never be touched. Never mind that the city has a long history, for good or for ill, of removing all kinds of historically significant monuments, including many statues and sculptures. For some reason, this one piece of folk art (and by the way, there are similar pieces all around the country, so this is not some unique genius master innovation), has a following of supporters similar in persistence to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

I never had a class from "Zim" but I do not remember him having attained sainthood by the time I graduated.

Saint or not, it's time for that statue to go. Period.

Interestingly, while searching for the Park Board page, I was reminded that the commissioners, last year, had no trouble removing lifeguards from the city's beaches, a move that actually endangers lives and has the effect of making the beach less safe and less accessible for people of color and for low-income children whose adult care-givers may not have the luxury of supervising their kids for a day at the beach.

Please email or call the Park Commissioners and attend the virtual meeting Tell them it's a new day and they need to ensure our parks are welcoming for and respectful of everyone by removing the statue. And then ask the Mayor to broaden the economic and cultural diversity of the board. The board needs people who can consider the economic and access consequences of board decisions.

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In an effort to keep the public, City staff, and Park Board Members as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19, the committee meeting will be conducted through video conferencing.

FOR THE LIVE STREAM LISTENING AND ABILITY TO ASK QUESTIONS:
https://stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3010241/b4028f50-5227-4375-95ca-1d32c8187d40

This meeting will also be open for attendance in person. Agenda items approved for Public 
Hearing by the committee are open to public comment. For anyone entering City Hall, social 
distancing is enforced and face masks are required.

Members of the public may provide written comments on any agenda item by:
E-mail: gerloffc@cityoflacrosse.org, Mail: Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department, 400 La 
Crosse Street, La Crosse, WI 54601, or by using the drop-box outside of City Hall.

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