Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alderman Maack wants Corinne Owens name removed from projects

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.

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Anonymous said...

Did Alderman Maack consult with Ms. Owens before issuing his press release? Or any African-American for that matter?

Blue Bird said...

No Mr. Maack your NOT going to be Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Maack just stepped into a pretty good sized pile of doo doo.

He is trying to take the lead on a non-issue and injecting himself into the middle of a spat between African American leaders in town that is related to this and the deal for Treasure's Books warehouse.

First Dickert upsets people with his moratorium announcement and now another white boy is telling the African American community what can and can not be named for one of their heroes. Smooth moves, boys.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think this is a great idea - kudos to Alderman Maack.

Shame on the bloggers here who feel only blacks can make suggestions regarding this topic. Excuse me, can we behave any more racist than that?

Alderman Maack is correct that a housing project should stand on its own merit and emotion needs ot be taken out of it.

I never agreed a housing project should be given Corinne's name - she deserves far better than that!

If there is a committee put together, obviously it should consist of, not just Aldermen, put members of the community who are interested in serving on it.

Corinne is a great lady and the community needs to think carefully about what they attach her name to. After all, look what happened to Ms. Cabrini Green?!

Anonymous said...

Cabrini-Green was named when two projects were combined to form it, Cabrini and Green are two separate people.

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and William Green.

But your point is a good one.

Reno said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Whether or not Dave Maack ever decides to run for mayor is besides the point. His idea is a good one regardless.

Anonymous said...

Maack's "idea" is beyond ridiculous. This is in no way involves him, nor should it. Stick to your own district, Dave, and stop trying to score political points off of Ms. Owens' legacy.

Anonymous said...


What idea has he ever had that was any good?
Everyone knows that Mr. Maack wants to be mayor.
However this is not the way to show leadership. I know try reducing the Mayor's budget.

The Libertarian said...

Hi, Ken.

In response to your question, the owners of a private project should be able to name it after anyone they want. To do such is not their “place” —it is their right.

Likewise, if the government wants to name a building or project or freeway, or whatever else, after some individual, they of course have the power to do so..

Regarding the housing project and David Maack’s interference with the naming of the project, it falls somewhere in between the above two scenarios.

It appears the “private project” is using government funds. As you know, all such money comes with strings attached. And the donor of the money makes the rules for the donation. The beneficiary of the donation has the right of refusal of the money if he doesn’t like the accompanying rules.

That is the Libertarian perspective.

You probably didn’t like the answer.

Let’s make it worse: the government has no business putting money into a housing project. Cabrini Green (mentioned above) is a good example, not of why government shouldn‘t be in the business of housing, but of how it becomes a monstrous failure when it gets into an arena in which it does not belong.

Housing is the job of the private sector. The Maack debate is an interesting academic exercise. Have some fun with it. As a real life scenario in a sane world, it would not exist.