Edit 8/7. There are two Josh Davis who live in East Lawrence (maybe more). This post was written by me (I live on 9th street; my picture on Twitter profile), not the Josh Davis who is past president of ELNA and currently on the board. He mentioned that there has been confusion multiple times, so just wanted to clarify.
I haven’t blogged for a couple years, but these last couple months have prompted me start again because of an important issue.
My wife and I were out enjoying the Food Truck festival on May 2nd. This event occurred in the 800 block of Pennsylvania, a couple blocks from our house. This event was generally viewed as a success by all involved, including the neighborhood and Just Food, who raised thousands of dollars to fight hunger in Douglas County. We are thankful to live in East Lawrence, where a number of these events occur.
Yet, on that night, we came home to find that someone had put a sign in our yard with an ominous message of “TURN BACK NOW!!”. This was disturbing on many levels. Chief among them, using our yard without permission to put out a message that we are diametrically opposed to. I removed the sign, and moved on.
Now a video has been released that is trying to target the East Ninth project as some monstrous event that is comparable to Colonialism. The video would be potentially funny if it wasn’t so full of mischaracterizations and misinformation. As I finish watching the video, what do I find, but video of children walking in front of our house with the “TURN BACK NOW!!” sign in front of it.
(Above: Screen capture of my house and the sign)
This misrepresentation of our views was not only displayed that night, but now is being used in this piece trying to mischaracterize the East Ninth project, my wife and I’s position on it, and the community’s position.
The group putting up these protest signs is characterizing the opposition to the East Ninth project as greater than it really is. They are putting signs on properties whose owners/representatives are in favor of the project. This isn’t limited to just our house. Turnhall, Charlie’s East Side and the AME Church have all had signs placed on their property, despite each owner/representative being in favor of the project going forward.
To put it mildly, this misrepresentation really upset me. So much so that I drafted a long blog post on Friday pointing out issues in the video and attacking the tactics of the this small group of opposition.
But after talking to artists this weekend at Final Fridays and reading letters in support for project from local artists, I realized now is not the time to be angry. There is widespread support for the project (as represented by residents, Lawrence artist project submissions, the East Ninth citizen advisory committee votes and the City Commission vote), and it is time to move forward and actually get into the nut and bolts design phase. I have confidence that this project will move forward, and unless meaningful efforts are made to derail it, it is time for all of us to work together to make it the best project possible for Lawrence and our neighborhood.
If you want to watch the video that includes the misrepresentation of my position, you can find it here. The screen capture above is in the last minute.
If you have questions on this project, I encourage you to visit the detailed East Ninth project site from the City of Lawrence.
Edit 8/4: Adding a link to the East Ninth FAQ that is being hosted on a website created by East Lawrence residents (myself included). This FAQ includes update timelines and artist information for the project.
- Want Lawrence citizens getting involved in the government process? You have to make that engagement matter.
- East Lawrence For The Win – Election, Discussions and Actions
- East Ninth project has significant support despite mischaracterizations
- Winter in Lawrence
- Bread and cupcake for tonight’s meal and silent auction. Thanks Great Harvest.
- Saturday is the day and there will be cupcakes in the auction.