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.