by Kenneth Lumpkin
I openly apologize to the members of Racine's inner-city for the loss of funds that would have improved the Flat Iron Mall for public use and other programs that would have helped unwed teen mothers and recovering drug addicts.
The removal of the $50,000 that had been set aside for the Flat Iron Mall on Douglas Avenue, $20,000 for the Foundation of Life nonprofit organization and $15,000 for Project New Life Nehemiah program was direct retaliation for my criticism of our new Mayor John Dickert. In the Insider News, as well as publicly, I have strongly suggested that the mayor and his selective cronies are anti-growth and improvement of the inner-city.
The first example is his capping of the multi-million dollar Corrine Owens Project that would have led to jobs and drastic improvement to the State Street corridor near the transportation center. Then in an effort to make community folks happy, he formed a committee to name something after Corrine Owens, anything, and as quick as possible. Now the Mayor wants $5,000 more for a plaque to mark the Underground Railroad in Racine. How many jobs will these appeasements generate for African Americans that are number two on the list as the highest unemployed in the state.
The next example of his anti-growth and improvement of the central city is his vote to remove $50,000 from the nonprofit Flat Iron Mall which serves as an incubator for primarily African-American and Hispanic businesses. In addition, the mall is frequently used by Hispanics and African-Americans to host weddings, anniversaries, and baptism events. It is estimated that the mall is visited by over 100,000 people annually. It is the central point of development needed in this city plan to revitalize Douglas Avenue as a gateway to downtown Racine.
What also is surprising is the lack of support by Ald. Jim Kaplan who is alderman for the district where the Flat Iron Mall is located. Each of the three projects that the CDBG Committee originally funds were snatched from being funded and they are programs and projects that I have close ties to and have openly suppored. What upsets me the most is the Mayor's willingness to punish a large segment of the minority community in order to put me on notice that I am to keep my mouth shut about his lack of support for the needs of the minority community.
I wonder if Dickert's cuts are a part of his invisible ten-year plan.