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COMMUNITY VOICE

Let's rename the city's parks so they match the statues that are in them

Friday, August 16, 2013 - 12:01 am

The perfect storm is brewing in Fort Wayne about whose statue is standing in which park named what.

As far as I can understand it, Foster’s statue is in Swinney Park instead of Foster Park, Lawton’s statue is located in Lakeside Park instead of Lawton Park, Chief Little Turtle is hidden in Headwaters Park, the Civil War memorial is in Lawton Park, Anthony Wayne’s statue is overwhelmed by trees in Freimann Square, and the Memory statue in Memorial Park is of a woman whose head is missing.

(Does the fact that no one seems to care that the woman’s head is missing tell you something about this fracas?)

Keeping in mind that David Foster is acknowledged as the father of the Fort Wayne park system and that currently the Parks and Recreation director and the mayor of Fort Wayne are all male and the current mayor was throwing his weight behind a suggestion to move General Wayne’s statue to the Courthouse Green at the taxpayers’ expense instead of trimming the trees so we could see it, would I sound chauvinistic if I, as a woman whose head is not missing, made a suggestion as to how to solve this situation?

Please keep in mind that I am a Fort Wayne native who smoked her first cigarette hiding in Foster Park and that I figure my suggestion would only cost the taxpayers $562.99. (Yes, I quit smoking years ago.)

Instead of moving all those statues, rename the parks! New signs would be very inexpensive. Rename Swinney Park Foster Park. Rename Lawton Park Civil War Park. Put a head, preferably a woman’s, on the statue in Memorial Park so she would now have a memory. Rename Lakeside Park Lawton Lakeside Park, and rename Headwaters’ Park Little Turtle Park. Period. Amen. It makes sense.

Are you confused yet? Honestly, very few people know the parks’ names anyway, and how could it be any more confusing than it is now? At least then each statue would be standing in a park that bears its name. Just trying to figure out whose statue is currently in which park has given me a huge headache.

Hiring people to make new signs for the parks would be good for the economy, and we could have teachers all over Fort Wayne prepare our future citizens by teaching them who is standing where and that it makes sense to have the statues in their proper place. I would be happy to go from school to school giving lectures as to who is standing where and why and teaching any future park designers where to place things.

I love the guy on the horse standing just where he is in Freimann Square. Please don’t move him. I love Art in the Park under his hooves. He rules over and guards the wonderful flora at the corner of Calhoun and Main.

If you want to move him, how about moving him to the Fort on Spy Run that bears his name? Isn’t it Fort Wayne, and isn’t he General Anthony Wayne? (Or is the Fort on Lafayette? While we’re at it, how about changing street names so that the street doesn’t change names when it crosses the river?)

Each time I drive by the courthouse, I am so grateful to the Waterfield Foundation for making it possible to tear down the old buildings that once stood in front of the courthouse, thus creating the spacious Courthouse Green. The simplicity and openness of that space invite visitors to come, sit, appreciate and meditate. Create new visions. Leave the Courthouse Green alone.

Mayor Henry, this is your chance to go down in history known as the mayor who finally brought horse sense to our marvelous park system. Forge a path urging the Parks and Recreation Department to rename the parks and, who knows, someday they may put a statue of you in Lion’s Park.

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a resident of Fort Wayne.