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East County Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010 11 years ago

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Main Street Memorial


+ Main Street perfect for memorial project
Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on the proposed memorial in the Lakewood Ranch area. I am a local fire department battalion chief and was the chairman of the Manatee County Emergency Services Memorial Committee subcommittee, which designed, funded, secured the location for and constructed the 9/11 memorial in Rossi Park near downtown Bradenton.

I have been involved with the proposed Lakewood Ranch memorial project for several months. 

I feel the Main Street site is ideal — very ideal. I also feel that if Rex Jensen wanted the memorial to be at the Main Street site, he certainly could make it happen. I’m not sure why he would like to locate the memorial at the proposed sports complex and can only guess he is trying to work out the disagreement of where to build it. We had a similar situation with the Manatee County memorial, and the alternate site offered to us was not ideal either. Through negotiations and levelheaded talks with the city, we ended up at a great location in Rossi Park.

The Main Street location just fits so well and would benefit everyone so well that I can’t imagine why Jensen is not embracing this memorial enthusiastically. It really baffles me. I understand the property and liability/insurance/lawyer issues associated with the site. But I know it can be worked out, and if Jensen wanted it to be there, it would be there.

Maybe this has turned into a personal battle, I don’t know. What I do know is every reasonable person I have talked to agrees the Main Street site is perfect. I encourage Jensen to reconsider and look at the great benefit to all to locate the memorial at the Main Street site.

We can address all his concerns and make it happen if he will allow us the chance.

Leigh T. Hollins
Mill Creek

+ Memorial move is bad for business
Dear Editor:

I have just received word that the 9/11 and Fallen Heroes Memorial will no longer be approved for Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

I believe it is an honor to have this memorial in our community. Furthermore, a national memorial such as this would attract regional, state and national attention, which would be invaluable in terms of revenue to the businesses around the Main Street area. Given the difficulties businesses have had on and in the Main Street area and the current economic conditions, why would anyone at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch consider the new proposed location a better alternative?

This decision is congruent with the current U.S. government’s decision to spend more on entitlements when the U.S. cannot afford the debt it already has incurred, so to push through the legislation they change the numbers, knowing full well they are false. Their decision is not a true representation of the people and will have a negative impact on small business do to the increase it imposes in new taxes.   

Is SMR looking to drive traffic to the new post office? Is this a way to sell more stamps? I think not, and again, the current location is not only an honor to have in the community but also a benefit to all the area businesses who need as much support from SMR as they can possibly get.             

So why the change in location?

A lot of time and effort has gone into developing this project by several great Americans and patriotic individuals, and it is a shame the management of SMR, who previously supported the project’s location, have changed the location. I do not understand the change in position by SMR.

In other words, it’s like this:

 1. Leave the location on Main Street. The benefit would be additional revenue generation for small area businesses.

 2. Move the location from Main Street next to the post office. This would result in no additional revenue generation for small area businesses. However, it may help the post office sell a few more stamps.

So what decision do they make?        

I would strongly support a reconsideration to maintain the current location as approved previously for Main Street.

Please let me know what, if anything, I may do to support a reconsideration by Rex Jensen.            

Michael Tench
Lakewood Ranch

+ Monument would be an honor for Ranch
Dear Editor:

As a first responder to the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 — who lost not only brother firefighters and friends but also a relative on that day — I fail to see what the problem could be in having Lakewood Ranch honored as one of the few communities across the United States to have an official 9/11 monument using an actual steel beam that came from the World Trade Center.

|I am one of those who had planned on purchasing a brick and placing the name of my relative on it to honor their memory forever in a place they loved to visit, Florida. This makes absolutely no sense to me, and Rex Jensen should be ashamed of himself for not allowing this project to move ahead in the only logical place for it to be — Lakewood Ranch Main Street. 

By Jensen’s failure to happily approve such a project, he has shown me that he is no patriot.
Matt Bruce
Lakewood Ranch

+ Monument decision a disappointment
Dear Editor:

I am deeply disappointed — professionally and personally — by Rex Jensen’s decision not to proceed with this project at Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

He says, enigmatically, that Main Street is “a square peg in a round hole” but that a remote site around a Post Office transforms the enigmatic peg from square to round. By not sharing specifically and forthrightly with the wide community of stakeholders his logic (and/or problems with Main Street), alternate solutions — as well as team building community dialogue — are blocked. As a resident of Lakewood Ranch, this is to me not a healthy process.

On a personal note, my life has spanned the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. I have visited them several times. They always remind us that freedom must be earned and defended across time. Such a reminder — a girder from the towers — can now be at the heart of our vibrancy at Main Street.

Surely, if we can accommodate a miniature golf course there, we can find a way to accommodate this hallowed tribute to people who died so that we can have a Main Street.

My thanks to you and The Observer for your fine and fair reporting in our community.

Dick Major
Lakewood Ranch


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