Whatever happened to the Phoenix Bank plans?

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, June 25, 2009

How can citizens get to talk to our mayor, councilmen or city manager?

We were selected six years ago to become the task force in charge of revitalizing the Fairgrounds area and preparing the old Phoenix Bank to become a museum.

A billboard with a photo was erected on the site where the Dr. G.W. Carver Monument would be the beginning of the revitalization of the 300 block of the fairgrounds, as approved by the City Council. We did all of the groundwork for the project.

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Planters exchanged lots with the city so we could complete our project, and personal properties were taken under the eminent domain process for revitalization as housing, streets and parks. Where are they?

The committee worked very hard getting information from citizens and conducting interviews with older citizens, beginning with Vice Mayor Curtis Milteer, because there was nothing to be had from the city on the history of the fairgrounds or the black communities near it.

We had hoped that the G.W. Carver Circle would erase the ugly memories of how citizens were beaten, bitten by police dogs and sprayed with fire hoses in the same location where the new Human Services Building is located.

We wrote three letters to the mayor, city manager and councilmen in June and July last year — one was sent by certified mail — asking to meet with them to try to get our questions answered. They have not been courteous enough to answer those letters.

If they have disbanded our group, they should have the decency and integrity to tell us so. We were not paid for our services, but we dedicated ourselves and enjoyed trying to revitalize the area, so we shouldn’t have had to be downsized.

I thought it was very rude and disrespectful for the mayor to have had certificates mailed to the 16 members of the committees, instead of treating us the same as others, who are given certificates in council chambers.

Council said there would not be enough money to finish the museum and that no new projects would be undertaken until all of the old ones were completed. Yet they are doing just the opposite. So you can see that we do not matter.

The lights were never completed, although they still are being erected on other areas. It was very disappointing that this council changed our plan for its own plan because of the Human Resources building.

Maybe we need to contact President Obama to see if there is something in the stimulus plan to finish the museum, which has been so well supported by Congressman J. Randy Forbes.

It appears that a few people on the staff are running the city without the input of the citizens.