In an email to Mayor John Dickert and other members of the Common Council, 5th District Alderman David Maack is calling for the removal of Corinne Reid-Owens name from any State Street development project.
In the email Maack said, “Over the past several years, at least two projects have come before the City of Racine that would name a development after Corinne Owens. Much public support was garnered because this remarkable woman would be honored. However, I believe that associating her name with a development project has also clouded the issue.”
The project which two African American developers, Damon Dorsey and Brent Oglesby have sought to build would have been named after Owens, Their project would be a $8.6 million large scale catalytic project consisting of 38 apartments and about 3,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The apartments will be two and three bedrooms. Ten of the apartments will be luxury townhouse units. The project would also consist of a recreation room for tenants. Apartments units will be open to anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, who falls within the income limits and meet other selection criteria.
Macck says his request is twofold: That Corinne Owen’s name be removed from any development project proposed for the State Street corridor and that any proposed project stand on its own merits. “Perhaps this will take some of the emotion out of the equation and allow for all involved to evaluate the proposals based on sound business projections,” he explained. He adds, “This would not prevent a developer from honoring Ms. Owens after a project was completed.”
He said that he also wants to encourage the mayor to appoint a commission established as soon as possible. The purpose of the commission would be to identify a park, plaza, building or other suitable venue to recognize and honor Ms. Owens for her contributions to the civil rights movement and this community. “I would be willing to either chair this commission or at least serve on it,” he said in the memo.
Maack’s request is different than one that Mayor Dickert had suggested. Early this month the Mayor’s office released a statement with State Representative Bob Turner saying that Corinne Reid-Owens will be memorialized as a part of the design of any project on State Street that is constructed next to the train station. “Corinne Owens is a part of Racine’s history and she will be honored for her efforts,” Mayor Dickert said.
“While there are no current plans for developing the site by the city, any future project will include a tribute to Ms. Owens,” the Mayor stated.