A few quick thoughts on the war of words in Pinckney this week, over the proposed veteran’s monument on the property next to the library:
The library should have purchased the property when they bought the rest – but they didn’t. While I was in office, I asked the then-superintendent, Dan Danosky, about the playground, and he said “Make an offer.”
So, I offered $1.
I was still waiting for a counter-offer when I left office in November 2012. My understanding is that there was a brief conversation between the village and the school, in which the school stated that they need to set a reasonable price for the property. And that is perfectly understandable. I never imagined that they would take my $1 seriously. I mean, I didn’t take my $1 offer seriously – the intent was to start the process. And really, if you aren’t going to give me a minimum acceptable bid, then you totally deserve getting a $1 offer to start.
Apparently, that brief conversation was as far as it got between the village and the school. I was shocked, and a little dismayed, when I found out that the property had sold for $12K and change. “Why didn’t the village pick that up?” I thought. “It would be a fantastic additional greenspace downtown.” The property was sold to the same veteran’s memorial group that had approached the village for a location for their monument last year – and needed 20 acres off of Patterson Lake Road to do it right. Now, suddenly, 3 acres, limited access and extremely limited parking is workable. Hmm.
As soon as I read the article in the local paper, I admit I was among many who were offended by the idea that Pinckney needed saving. From what? And how was a monument going to accomplish that? Even if the quote from John Colone wasn’t accurate – and I’ve had enough experience with the media to know that it’s certainly possible that it wasn’t, or that it was out-of-context – the concept troubles me. The idea that one small memorial will bring in enough traffic to change the economics of the village is…idealistic at best. The fact that people who are “outside looking in” continue to view Pinckney as a place that needs rescuing, despite all the good things we have going on, despite all the time and energy being expended to combat the image through positive messaging, organizations and events – this is a bigger and more troubling issue. And much more difficult to combat.
Today, there is a response to Thursday’s article…and a letter to the editor. Neither piece adds much to the conversation about the proposed memorial – which requires funding and a trip through the planning process to become a reality, so it’s not like it is going up this weekend. There was a glimpse at who we are in Pinckney in today’s pieces – a close-knit community that continues to thrive despite a struggling downtown – but that’s not news, is it? Bickering over quotes and misquotes makes for better headlines. Despite what many think, newspapers are not obligated to support the positives of our communities. Not that they won’t, or don’t, report the good things – but when you hand them a headline-grabbing controversy on a platter, they are going to run with it. And that isn’t saving anyone.