Let's look at two key sentences from the recent WJBC article:
“Farnsworth suggested the mural can be spared from demolition and moved somewhere at a price range of $56,200 to $81,560. Reece said the town would attempt to receive reimbursement from people connected with The Pod, who are responsible for the mural.”
It should be noted that the Town is making contingency plans to save the mural, but only in case a judge orders them to do so. At the last minute, the council is also planning to give the developer an additional $720,000 in TIF money and tax refunds on top of the $8 million they already promised. There is so much that is wrong here.
First, the council brushed off the strong protests of many residents and insisted the mural can’t be saved. Now, suddenly, there is a viable way at a reasonable cost. Yet they still won’t do it unless they are forced to.
Second, despite the marketing windfall the Town has received for years from the mural and the council’s many comments about the value of public art, they refuse to commit any money for preserving the Town’s most iconic asset. Instead, they are going after small business owners and entrepreneurs for reimbursement--a slap in the face to the very people they are trying to attract.
Third, the hypocrisy of saying, “It’s too costly to save the mural,” but then giving the developer ten times more in rebates the moment they ask. The council has eagerly thrown millions of dollars in subsidies to every major development project, but when the residents are clamoring for a small amount of consideration, it falls on deaf ears.
Two things are abundantly clear:
The council needs better priorities.
Normal needs new leaders.