Community Post

Stone sofa at 23rd & Cherry gone, "politics" blamed

There was a very positive community reaction to our story last month about the stone sofa installation that suddenly appeared on a forlorn corner of the Garfield Community Center property. It seemed like a good example of what can be done in the city if you give creative city employees some room to innovate.

But yesterday CDNews member Nora alerted us to its sudden disappearance. We headed out this morning to check things out and found that it was indeed gone, replaced by an abstract placement of smaller rocks.

We spoke to a city employee who gave the thumbnail sketch of what happened, blaming city politics on the change. Apparently someone in the parks department raised concerns because of a shooting that happened somewhere else in the neighborhood, striking a victim who was sitting on a bench. The worry was that the bench might cause some other person to sit on it, making them a target of hypothetical future drive-bys.

Although we have no reason to doubt the veracity of our tipster’s story, we’re currently unable to confirm this with parks department leadership because today is a city furlough day. We’ve got a note into them to find out more once they return.

But it sure seems like a shame if so, as a fun and popular feature has been turned into another forgettable piece of landscaping over the simple fear of crime. And we tend to think that the best way to surpress crime is to give people a reason and way to stake out a positive presence on the streets. A few rocks in a garden doesn’t do much to further that goal.

Before: A cool stone sofa

After: A random placement of stones in landscaping

0 thoughts on “Stone sofa at 23rd & Cherry gone, "politics" blamed

  1. and if they’re walking on a sidewalk when the drive-by occurs, we should ban walking and tear up the sidewalks.

    please just let this be a bad dream…

  2. Unless I’m mistaken, the bus shelter *directly* across the street has a bench in it.
    How will this part of the neighborhood ever truly thrive without the presence of activity, of people? People sit.

  3. Pretty much every bit of research available indicates safer streets are one with eyes, and people, on them. I would love to know who at “the City” decided this was a good idea. Because whoever they are, they’re wrong.

  4. The city doesn’t want people sitting around because they don’t want them to get hit by gunfire? Maybe I’m getting old, but I always heard law enforcement thought the best policy to combat street violence was having more of the local citizens on the street.

  5. Scott, didn’t you JUST do a piece on a bunch of new, stone benches around the CD??

    It is funny, because the next CDN article is “CD Public Art Project NEEDS YOU” maybe if we all came up with a stone bench for the corner ro 23 and Cherry it would be “approved”……

  6. That explanation doesn’t make sense, so hopefully our incredible citizen journalists can get the real story.

    I was driving by when they were doing the removal and really wanted to ask what was going on. Now I wish I had done that!

  7. It seems a shame (or is it sham?) that this beautifully creative piece of art had to be removed. If we had paid some parks department Employee to design and layout this bench, then gone through an elaborate and expensive design and permitting review process, we know it still would have cost a fortune for instalation. As it was, we had a local school Employee that found a creative use for excess stones, with the final result both enhancing and beautifying the area. What a loss?

  8. Time for E mails and phone calls to parks, guys — and hey, those random rocks are still possible loitering places for possible drive-by targets of the able-bodied and flexible variety. But they aren’t attractive — they don’t make you laugh — and they are too close to the ground for gimpy old ladies to sit on.

  9. How can we recover this neighborhood asset? This decision really stinks and although it’s not a “big deal”, it shows (once again) the city’s lack of sensitivity to community on the south side. (I can’t imagine this would have been removed from a neighborhood north of the Ship Canal, can you?)