View Full Version : "Cultural District"

11-06-2003, 02:27 PM
I don’t know Elaine Van Natta – wouldn’t recognize her if I bumped into her on the street. So, I haven’t a clue what wellspring birthed the venom she sprayed in Marty Roenigk’s direction in this week’s Citizen Forum. From what I understand – she does not know the Roenigks - if she did, I doubt her tone would have been so "insulting". From what I read, she apparently did not feel the need to educate herself before she shows her ignorance of the subject in print....the subject being an “arts and cultural district” for ES.

Not much has been written in the local papers about the discussions and work on this concept of creating a cultural district. I'm only aware of it as someone on the outside - observing. I imagine the lack of print is because the "district" is still in concept stages – however, both editors are fully aware of the fact that these discussions are not just the product of the Roenigk’s imagination and efforts.

The fact is, there are many, many groups exploring this idea in addition to and/or with the Roenigks – it is a community wide effort that includes, most of the arts and cultural groups in town such as ESSA, the Writers Colony, the Lane House, Opera of the Ozarks, the ES Theatre Company and groups such as the CAPC, the Chamber and Eureka Kids, Parks and Recreation, and so forth. Leaders of these groups have been involved in these preliminary discussions – the brainstorming that has ensued is a result of a NUMBER of individuals and/or groups coming up with similar-to-identical concepts at almost the exact same time. The Mayor is involved and supports the formation of a cultural district, so are members of the city council, and representatives from the ACE core group and its coordinator.

If this town is capable of working together as a coalition of residents, arts groups, non-profit organizations, city government, and private business and actually manages to create a vibrant arts and cultural district – then everyone in this community will benefit. If there are others in Ms. Van Natta's camp who cannot readily see the massive advantages to community, visitors, business and city government by the successful launch of a funded and supported cultural district – then, please, take a moment to just think about it – before you attack hands extended in the spirit of philanthropy and community enrichment.

Also, there are many of us in ES who are aware of the potential for this “cultural district” and who also avidly support a skateboard park. The appeal of Mr. Roenigk's as I read it was simply, “don’t forsake one for the other”. Nothing more, nothing less.

I suggest that those people in a position to truly impact this town in a positive way not be vilified for their efforts - the very same people who have already contributed quite a bit to this town - and to my knowledge have asked for very little in return - other than to be viewed and treated as members of this community.

The “arts and cultural district” is in its infancy stage – nothing has been carved in granite. And to succeed the idea will need community wide involvement, input and support. Tearing apart a good concept for the wrong reasons is the fastest track to fulfilling the legacy of an ineffective community incapable of producing anything of real value.

Don’t let the shredders in this town kill good ideas before they are even fully flushed out. It is far easier to tear down than to build – and it takes a lot less talent and effort to criticize than to create.

[This message has been edited by Lucinda (edited 11-06-2003).]

11-06-2003, 02:42 PM
To me it's basic playground rules.We were there first.We were there when the land around was bought up,it was known by the buyer that we were there.I assume we were seen as a minor nuisance that could easily be run off.What about the historical signifigance of the skatepark.We've been there awhile now,so why should we be pushed out over some project in the concept stage.What if you guys get a good idea to build a strip mall at van pelt where will we be banished to then?But like i said.We were there first and we have every right to keep the park where it is.But screw us right go make you're money.That's what you're really saying.We can all benefit.That's money right?Screw the kids rights,there's money to be made.Correct me if i'm wrong because i hope i am.But i doubt it.It all seems pretty transparent to me.

11-06-2003, 03:08 PM
No Kernicus, it's not about money - it's about building upon what ES already has in spades...art and culture. It's about providing opportunity for creative expression and to help project a positive and marketable "image" of ES to the outside world.

I personaly feel that Harmon Park is a very good location for the skateboard park - if that is where the skaters want it. But I also think it can be done in such a way were everyone benefits - skaters, artists, the neighbors, the community, business, the city, etc.

If "noise" is the issue, then Cris Dunam has already expressed ideas on how to minimize the noise AND give the skaters the best equipment to use.

I am not pleading to give any one group an advantage over the other. I've still got this Pollyanna view that this place can succeed IF everyone works together...if decisions are made with the input of all those involved.

It was great that you, as a skater, attended the meeting about the park location. Involvement by those affected is mandatory to a good plan - and the Writer's Colony and the Roenigks are part of those affected by the concept. They have as much right to their input as do you.

I'd suggest you consider a one-on-one discussion with these people. Perhaps you'll change your mind about the "transparency" of their motives.

And by the way, Kernicus, I have absolutely no personal stake in this. I have grandkids who'd love to use the skate park. I have other grandkids who'd love to be involved in a "cultural district". That district can also be a great learning or educational tool.

As a resident and property owner, I see the possible positive economic impact to the city in general by creating something to infuse this town with more value. And it FITS our personality - more so than "soft industry", high tech business dreams for ES that may never come to fruition.

I DO see the advantages of a cultral district - real advantages for YOU, me, our friends, our city collections which pay for our city services, and for our kids. I think we can have BOTH - a fantastic skate park for skaters anda cultral district.

11-06-2003, 03:11 PM
Does this seem like one of those cheesy teen movies to anyone else?The greedy powers that be want to push out the kids hangout to build there new money machine.Then the kids have to pull a few hijinks to keep there spot but the greeds win and the kids bash up they're opening ceremonies and get to keep they're spot because the investors pull out.That's funny.

11-06-2003, 03:24 PM
If that is how you see this, then I hope you'll put some time into broading your perspective.

Yes, I guess it could be that, if you want to dramatize the situation - if you want to put all people with "money" into the same boat and ascribe the same set of "morals" to the entire group. If that were the case, there would be no such thing as philantrophy - no NPR, no endowment for the arts, no community service, less volunteerism, no "trusts" or foundations dedicated to community improvement, no anonymous donors jumping in at times of need. Just the wealthy. Just trust fund babies. That, I'm afraid, is just as bad as putting all "skaters" into the same category. It's limiting and can be called limited thinking.

I believe, that in working together, you can add as much value to this community as the Roenigks - you can be a part of "something" that is much more substantial - much more meaningful than simply ascribing bad script ideas and B grade movie plots to the motives of others.

YOUR input into this debate, again, is critical - you represent a segment that HAS been overlooked for far too long. I'm just hoping that you stay involved in real ways, not just in posting your fears about "them" here. Get to know the "bogey man" - they may be much more benign than you now believe.

Cris Dunnam
11-06-2003, 04:19 PM
Allow me clear up a couple items . . .

1. There has been no decision made as to the fate of, or home for, the skate park. That may occur at the next Parks & Rec meeting.

2. Eureka Kids has not been involved, invited or included in any discussions regarding the potential Arts & Cultural District. Eureka Kids, nonetheless, supports such a concept in principle.

Now . . .

It's true the letter to the editor in question came off quite venomous.
I do think it was reactionary to how Mr. Roenigk came off to some in the community who do not know him. I don’t know him, but think he created a PR problem for himself in his plea to stop the skate park at Harmon park. He himself stated that he sees no way to have the skaters AND the cultural district in the same area. He did appear to use his purchase of a great deal of real estate as a valid reason to not have the skate park nearby. That logic plays as elitist to some and is bound to draw some fire. I see it as a sort of “he stepped in it - that letter is what’s left on his shoe” situation.

None of this makes him a bad guy. Shoes clean up nicely with a little elbow grease & effort.

Let’s not make into the “bad guys” those who seem to be truly attempting to make this town better and develop new economic opportunities. I could list dozens of examples where what’s right for kids coexist with art, commerce & industry. Many examples of how those things can benefit and create new opportunities each other.

I will stand by my opinion - and it seems Lucinda’s as well, that a great skate park AND a dynamic arts & cultural district CAN coexist.

Now, play nice or everyone gets a “time-out.”

11-06-2003, 04:32 PM
I will stand by that thought, too.. a great skate park AND a dynamic arts & cultural district CAN coexist.

Skating is an art form. Art is a skating form. Both are a concentration on the beloved creation.

I know and love both artists and skaters.. I know that this can work.. and open-mindedness is essential for any part of this to work.

Let us stop looking for the enemy in each other, and start looking for the kinship that diverse communities must embrace in order for us to grow.. not just in size or income.. but in spirit.

11-06-2003, 06:51 PM
Co-existance is fine and dandy,it's just this is the first i've heard of it.All i've heard is get them out of the way.Honestly from 15 years experience with eureka and skateboarding,i can't make myself believe it.I've just been through way to much bs.I'm going to have to see it to believe it.

Becky Davis
11-06-2003, 07:10 PM
Yep they can coexist. I hope Harmon Park is where they do their coexisting. The land that park is on was left to the city for its children.
All of the artist and writers will probably agree. Heck they like kids. They used to be one.

11-06-2003, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by Becky Davis:
The land that park is on was left to the city for its children....

Thanks for that reminder Becky - it was the legacy of an earlier generation of "people with money" – the Harmon Foundation – and it was deeded to the town specifically for use by the children of ES.

It is also an example of a legacy that can only come from generations of generous philanthropy. It takes a degree of wealth for individuals or corporations to extend that level of generosity to a community. All communities must have its "patrons" to grow culturally – and economically - and all communities must have these patrons - in each decade - or this type of growth stops.

Yes, I agree with Cris – it may have been a PR mis-step. However, there is nothing in the Roenigks words or actions that should have drawn that type of a response.

As a town, we cannot extend one hand to accept a gift whilst the other is back-handing the giver for having the audacity to have an opinion as to how the gift is used.

And I am not implying, because I do not know, if the Roenigks intend to “gift” the cultural district to ES. But, anyone with the ability and the will to infuse this town with economic and/or cultural life is giving us a “gift”. And those types of people, the ones with the vision and the means combined with community spirit, are in short supply around these parts.

I cannot help but suggest that, as a town, we not hold the benefactors of our futures in such contempt, distrust or envy. Last time I looked, people were not lining up at the door to bring tangible resources to aid the community – maybe we need to value those that are – particularly those who’ve made this town their home - with a little more regard.

[This message has been edited by Lucinda (edited 11-06-2003).]

11-06-2003, 11:16 PM
[This message has been edited by Lucinda (edited 11-06-2003).]

11-06-2003, 11:17 PM
I can't seem to distinguish between the EDIT and the QUOTE icons....sorry.

[This message has been edited by Lucinda (edited 11-06-2003).]

11-06-2003, 11:59 PM
Wherever the skate park lands, it should not be some place hidden away...it should be supervised by an adult at ALL times...I'd like to see it close to town where the kids can walk to it,tho, I don't know where that would be. It will be interesting to see exactly when those kids do get the skate park.

11-07-2003, 01:58 PM
Is there such a thing as an "indoor" skate park?

11-07-2003, 02:43 PM
repeat after me...(and slooowly if need be)...

Eureka's most valuable natural resource is it's children.

(skateboards and accessories sold separately)

James DeVito
11-07-2003, 03:39 PM
The skaters have been out of the basement of the auditorium since July. I can`t think of anything that has occured there that necessitated their removal,. It`s winter now, does anyone know why they can not use the basement?

11-07-2003, 05:21 PM
The upcoming Auditorium renovations is the reason.

11-07-2003, 05:36 PM
Uhhh...because THE Auditorium is an "art-cultural" place and they can not co-exist?

Yeah, RIGHT. The Auditorium belongs as much to them as it does ANYBODY if it TRULY "belongs to the city". They should not have been booted OUT of the auditorium like they were, and denying Harmon Park to them is SHAMEFUL. It's not like the kids are asking the CAPC for FUNDING, you know. (LOL) (more LOL) Harmon Park is practically NO MONEY. I am INSULTED that ANYBODY in Eureka Springs would deny them this. I can tell you from personal experience, when I lived up 1/4 a block off the loop, the skaters went up and down, day and night in front of our home, 7/7 until they had a place to go to. So....go ahead! Deny them a place! Pass go, collect $200.00 and welcome them back to the streets. Only THEN, I will "suggest" that they frequent all the "artsy-cultural" neighborhood streets that put them OUT on the street.
Skating IS an art. There are many cultural and artistic things that go hand in hand with skating.

The people responsible for starting Eureka Kids don't NEED any high falootin headaches or heartaches from the "artsy-cultural" club. Get off their ass. Locals are thicker than water around here, especially locals with KIDS.

11-07-2003, 07:34 PM
the operative word here is "upcoming".
been "upcoming" since July.
what exactly is being installed in the AUD basement during the "upcoming" renovations, and what is the scheduled completion date?

11-07-2003, 07:49 PM
I agree with skating the cultural center if it puts us on the street.But i agree with skating anywhere i please.The way i see it,i'm a 28 year old man.I should be allowed to police myself like everyone else.What gives any person the right to tell me how to live or behave.I am not a criminal i have been made into one.I pay taxes just like you.It falls into the mind you're own business and leave me alone,i'm not hurting anyone category as far as i'm concerned.But i don't own a business so there you see my dilemna.I have no clout so i have second class rights.Eventually it will be illegal to go outside at all around here.Anyway i'm done so you can look for something to tear apart what i say now.

11-07-2003, 07:50 PM
i dont belive a "cultural District" will be happening anytime soon! give them harmon PARK, its a park, what is a better noise to hear then kids in a park? (other than cha-ching of a cash registar) its a PARK!

[This message has been edited by becauseican (edited 11-07-2003).]

11-07-2003, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by becauseican:
i dont belive a "cultural District" will be happening anytime soon! give them harmon PARK, its a park, what is a better noise to hear then kids in a park? (other than cha-ching of a cash registar) its a PARK!

11-07-2003, 08:06 PM
kernicerus, your opinion is as valid as anyone who posts here. since you are the only skater who is posting, your words are carrying a lot of weight right now.
Don't lose your focus.
More people are listening than you might think.

11-07-2003, 08:10 PM
We have a show tonight but feel free to call or come by ANYTIME if you have any questions about the renovations.

11-07-2003, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by Lucinda:
Yes, I agree with Cris – it may have been a PR mis-step. However, there is nothing in the Roenigks words or actions that should have drawn that type of a response.
[This message has been edited by Lucinda
(edited 11-06-2003).]

As you heard the words, or read them Lucinda, You did not draw that response. Should no one else have come to a different interpretation of those same words? Is it evident to everyone who read those words that the meaning is the same?

I heard those words, or rather read them, and i for one came to the same conclusion, or a bit of an inbetween conclusion as you and Elaine. I heard that "I" own 80% of the land in this area, and "I" have plans for this area, and "I" do not want kids skateboarding here, because it would detract from my utopian view of what a "cultural area" would be.

I have a limited, but somewhat capable memory of words being spoken two years or so ago on the same site, same skateboard issue, of Marty saying, along with Crescent that we must keep in mind our parks are not "just for kids", and that adults must be considered too.

I read those words to say exactly what they said. It does not fit into the plan. But whose plan. You make it sound as if at least fifty per cent of the city is involved in this plan, but this is the first time i have heard of it and i have been part of this community for 18 years. Why was I not invited or informed? When is this plan to take place? When will this plan be finalized and when will this plan be implimented? And when were only "certain groups" acceptible to culture??

This is what i read, and this is my interpretation. I saw it stated as " I own this land and you are standing in my way of reaching my goal and my dream." Imaginge that kids could bungle something again.

Community spirit...Springdale has just come together and is about to break ground for a skate park, and Tony Hawks is even donating money...is he a patron?? The communnity came together to raise money for this park. Why? Because the children are also important.

We spend thousands on hundreds of bad judgements in this town, but we pass park taxes and we pass library taxes, and we need to understand in the words of Marty that the parks belong to more than the children. This town belongs to the adults, and it is time we quit messing with the kids for the patrons for the tourists, and understand OUR CHILDREN LIVE HERE TOO!!!

so i read the same words you did, but i come to a totally different conclusion.

Becky Davis
11-07-2003, 08:37 PM
I read the letter Elaine wrote and you gotta admit, she cleaned his clock. No fancy falooting words or trying to be polite. Guess she told it like she sees it. Hers was not the only letter, I believe there was another over on the next page or two in protest also.
There are people in this town who have been trying to get something done for their kids for longer than the Roegniks have lived here. I do know them and I like them.
Just think they better come up with some compromises on this issue.
The land was specifically left for the kids in a time when adults embraced children and realized their value as our future. And like it or not retired money people need to get used to the idea.
Eureka was once an artist's utopia. What happened?
Just what kind of artists are we trying to attract? Are we trying to make another Sante Fe or Taos?

11-08-2003, 10:35 AM
I only made it down to the auditorium once and it was pretty cool.It was cool of them to let it be there as long as it was.It was geared towards kids so i didn't go much.That's why i like public parks.Me and my friends get to skate while the kids are in school.Yes there are other skaters around my age and older.There's a public created stigma about the age a skater should be.If you read thrasher or watch the x games.Teenagers are the exception not the rule.You just see the kids more.They don't have jobs and kids so more free time.My son is almost 2,he can already stand on a board and push himself a little.So he'll be out there in a couple years.I want him to skate the park i saw born.I stood in that park with dreamin eagle when it was just waist high grass and snakes,and listened to him tell me about what was coming.I was there the day after the blacktop dried,skating that bank.I've skated up and down that bank more times in my life than i've skated anything else.I've seen skaters come and go,and some die.The name we decided on back then was the mark walker memorial park,after a friend who hung out and watched his brother and us skate and took his own life.The guy that destroyed the water fountain also took his own life.Ilook around that park and i see alot tragedies and triumphs for all of us who grew up there.Alot of police harassment under the old guard.Even a scrap or two.My long winded point is it's not like there's nothing at stake but a piece of ground.That park is the soul of eureka skating to me.It was our place with no adults where we were who we were,and found out who that was.Well this is sounding alot like a wonder years episode so i'll just say restore the park and let a new generation have they're turn.