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GRDadof3

Veterans Park Improvements

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As part of qualifying for brownfield tax credits for The Fitzgerald, Second Story has agreed to invest about $750,000 into Veterans Park across the street. Anyone know what improvements are in store? That could really be a great urban park with a little TLC.

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Wow...this is an old topic.

It looks like they're going to put that red monument in the park despite recommendations by the Arts Advisory Commission (and Chris Knape) to put it elsewhere due to it not "fitting" into the park. I'm all for honoring veterans, but couldn't they have designed the monument a bit differently?

Grand Rapids Press Article

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It looks like they're going to put that red monument in the park despite recommendations by the Arts Advisory Commission (and Chris Knape) to put it elsewhere due to it not "fitting" into the park. I'm all for honoring veterans, but couldn't they have designed the monument a bit differently?

Grand Rapids Press Article

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"...6-foot-tall, blood-red stone..."

Most of the public complainants have focused on the color, "when I got shot I bled red blood," etc. Problem is: the monument is, um, not attractive. (Yes, I know that war is not pretty.) It looks like it was created by a bifocal-wearing novice computer user who wanted to cramasmanywordsintoonespaceashecould, using Times Roman.

I hope that Rhonda and co. have some say in the placement, rather than let this heavy-handed vet's group plonk it smack in the middle of the Fulton frontage.

[spent 20 years doing graphic arts and desktop publishing]

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I didn't get a chance to see what it looks like, but even some AmVets I know kidded that it wasn't worth all the talk. Chris Knape was quite brave for respectfully disagreeing in his blog post. I disagree and agree with both sides, but think its being taken way to far.

I honestly really don't understand the arguments. Any dissent to how we should honor our fallen and living appears to be a direct attack on what they represent. I really do think its the wartime mentality. No one wants to say it, but if you come out with a rebuttal you're going to get lambasted. You have folks who genuinely care about those who serve, but at the same time disagree at how best to honor them. Everyone is on eggshells -- so to make things clear they start off "I support the military, but...."

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A monument should be something for the ages, stands the test of time. Honors but does not distract from the message. This thing is garish. I can understand the idea of using something red, but Veloise is right, it is just flat out poorly designed. I do think that the city should have a say for what goes in the park. They should be able to say look at these other monuments, lets do something that fits.

Everyone knows that war is hell. But people shouldn't have to walk on eggshells if a monument is a sore thumb. It reminds me of people who paint their houses some nasty color. You don't pay less for an ugly color. I'm sure they could do something nice, respectful and to the point without making it look like the beotch stepchild of the park.

Joe

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I agree with an earlier poster that this has probably been made much more of a big deal than it needs to be. This is an issue which is representative of the political BS that happens at the city level. The petty politics that bog everything down, and incidently the very process that these vets sacrificed blood for.

Much has been made about the "Blood-red stone" which is the way it has been described, and while it is red, it is not as red as what has been portrayed in descriptions or even the photos. Yes, it is not gray, but it is also not bright red. I have seen the stone.

As far as this monument screwing up the symmetry of the park? The park is not completely symmetrical - there is a building on one side that is not balanced on the other side. And the placement of this monument does almost nothing to change the way that the pool and the vertical elements are perceived from Fulton. The monument itself is small (under 6' tall) relative to the other monuments and will be placed off to the side. The clutter of bus shelter screws up the perception more than this will.

The arts council? This is not art - it is a monument - I can not even understand why this council even reviews it or what criteria they use. This has absolutely nothing to do with art - it is a symbol to honor the blood that was shed for this country by so many, for so long. Furthermore, some of the members of this council are not even residents of the city.

By all accounts, this group of veterans, who I spoke with at the park on Wednesday night, have been shown very little respect - particularly by this arts council.

These vets indicated that the mayor, at one point, told them that this was a great idea and that he would support them and then later told them that he had to remain impartial. I have my doubts that the former mayor would have pulled this kind of stunt.

Sure, the monument has a lot of "clutter on it", a lot of words and symbols, but to characterize it as amatuerish is in error as it was designed by a company that specializes in monument design. This is a taste issue, and while it is not my taste, it is still appropriate to have it be in the Veterans' Park because of what it symbolizes.

Can we really legislate taste, should we? Especially in a nation which idolizes Paris Hilton and Posh Spice? We have no taste. Plainfield Township is setting up legislation to control what goes on in cemeteries because people are putting everything but the kitchen sink next to grave sites, including fiberglass deer and bear. Zeeland is setting up zoning to control what people put on their front porches - limiting items to one grill and one snow shovel and properly arranged furniture (whatever that means). One grill? Again, we have no taste.

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And really, what's it matter how the monument looks. If the monument were gorgeous and made out of gold i still don't think it's going to make more people hang out at that park and eat their lunch.

Maybe if they were able to cover up the stench of urine. Is that in SSP's revitalization plan?

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So you're saying that because the entire nation has "no taste", we should just shut up if something looks pretty poor?

Also, just because it is a "professional" monument company doesn't mean it is well designed. I've seen many professional designers, architects, etc. etc. design some pretty poor projects.

If you are implying we should settle for mediocrity, you should quit while you are ahead. Monuments are pretty much permanent and if something that is going in a public park looks like crap, we definitely have the right to complain. :blink:

Joe

Can we really legislate taste, should we? Especially in a nation which idolizes Paris Hilton and Posh Spice? We have no taste. Plainfield Township is setting up legislation to control what goes on in cemeteries because people are putting everything but the kitchen sink next to grave sites, including fiberglass deer and bear. Zeeland is setting up zoning to control what people put on their front porches - limiting items to one grill and one snow shovel and properly arranged furniture (whatever that means). One grill? Again, we have no taste.

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I agree with an earlier poster that this has probably been made much more of a big deal than it needs to be. This is an issue which is representative of the political BS that happens at the city level. The petty politics that bog everything down, and incidently the very process that these vets sacrificed blood for...

Much has been made about the "Blood-red stone" ... I have seen the stone....

As far as this monument screwing up the symmetry of the park? The park is not completely symmetrical ...The arts council? This is not art - it is a monument - I can not even understand why this council even reviews it or what criteria they use. This has absolutely nothing to do with art - it is a symbol to honor the blood that was shed for this country by so many, for so long. Furthermore, some of the members of this council are not even residents of the city....By all accounts, this group of veterans, who I spoke with at the park on Wednesday night, have been shown very little respect - particularly by this arts council.

...mayor...Sure, the monument has a lot of "clutter on it", a lot of words and symbols, but to characterize it as amatuerish is in error as it was designed by a company that specializes in monument design. This is a taste issue, and while it is not my taste, it is still appropriate to have it be in the Veterans' Park because of what it symbolizes....

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Word to everyone who said that is one ugly monument. I wonder how they can improve Veterans' Park, beyond just making it feel safer? I don't feel unsafe when I walk through it (once a day), per se, it's just that there are a lot of homeless people right by the big fountain. I'm sure that keeps many away from that area. It could really be the heart of the district, what with the new and improved Division Ave, the Fitzgerald going in, the new UICA- if it ever goes in, and if anyone ever, ever does something with the Kendall building!

A few years ago, during Festival of the Arts, the local band Potato Moon put on a 'renegade' show of sorts (the police caught wind of it, but it was a great atmosphere, so it continued), and played on the Veterans' Park Fountain. It was fantastic! I'd love to see a once-a-month concert there in the summer. I can just see everyone with picnic blankets, lounging on the grass. . . .

Edit: It's a "show" not a shoe! :)

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Word to everyone who said that is one ugly monument. I wonder how they can improve Veterans' Park, beyond just making it feel safer? I don't feel unsafe when I walk through it (once a day), per se, it's just that there are a lot of homeless people right by the big fountain. I'm sure that keeps many away from that area. It could really be the heart of the district, what with the new and improved Division Ave, the Fitzgerald going in, the new UICA- if it ever goes in, and if anyone ever, ever does something with the Kendall building!

A few years ago, during Festival of the Arts, the local band Potato Moon put on a 'renegade' shoe of sorts (the police caught wind of it, but it was a great atmosphere, so it continued), and played on the Veterans' Park Fountain. It was fantastic! I'd love to see a once-a-month concert there in the summer. I can just see everyone with picnic blankets, lounging on the grass. . . .

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I agree that the park is VERY under-utilized and that a concert series as mentioned would do wonders for getting people there. My hometown did something similar to bring a park back to life. The park was an area that a lot of 'stoners' used as their hang out spot and the park was dubbed Hippie Park because of it. The city, in an attempt to turn the park around, fixed everything up, added a new gazebo and throughout the summer there is a weekly concert there. It is a wonderful park now that constantly has an influx of people

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So you're saying that because the entire nation has "no taste", we should just shut up if something looks pretty poor?

Also, just because it is a "professional" monument company doesn't mean it is well designed. I've seen many professional designers, architects, etc. etc. design some pretty poor projects.

If you are implying we should settle for mediocrity, you should quit while you are ahead. Monuments are pretty much permanent and if something that is going in a public park looks like crap, we definitely have the right to complain. :blink:

Joe

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I believe that the purpose of Veteran's Park is to honor all veterans -- no award required. Why can't there be a single place where no matter the situation, your service is honored equally -- end of story?

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A few years ago, during Festival of the Arts, the local band Potato Moon put on a 'renegade' show of sorts (the police caught wind of it, but it was a great atmosphere, so it continued), and played on the Veterans' Park Fountain. It was fantastic! I'd love to see a once-a-month concert there in the summer. I can just see everyone with picnic blankets, lounging on the grass. . . .

...

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I still don't understand how you can beotch about people fighting a f-ugly looking monument and in the same breath complain about mediocrity. It doesn't make much sense. I think the whole point of this forum is to embrace the extraordinary and rail against mediocrity.

Joe

I need not imply anything regarding settling for mediocrity...we (as Americans) already have. From 98% of the houses constructed in the last 20 years, to the poor quality of almost every consumer item produced (bikes, toasters, windows, electronics, etc, etc); from the gutted public realm to the mediocre educations of our kids; from the almost universal piss poor customer service for things like computers and phone bills to the lack of will of our politicians. Mediocrity is embedded, I deal with it almost every time I have to buy a service or product. I have given up on most things because of their mediocrity and as such pay a premium for almost everything I need, like having to buy a Dualit toaster from Great Britian or having to import a bike from Denmark.

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I need not imply anything regarding settling for mediocrity...we (as Americans) already have. ... the gutted public realm to the mediocre educations of our kids; from the almost universal piss poor customer service ...politicians. Mediocrity is embedded...

I am certainly not saying to shut up if something looks poor, but if we are talking about aesthetics, how do you define what poor looks like? In the case of this monument, what exactly is the threshold where it becomes poor? Is it the mass? composition? color? amount of "stuff" on it? What are the tangible requirements for definition of poor aesthetics?

I can ask 10 different people that question about that monument and most likely get 10 different takes. Likewise, if we are talking aesthetics, I can ask the same question about every building, automobile and article of clothing and get a wide cross section of rankings.

So in order for us to legislate taste, in a tasteless nation, what do we do? And where to do stop? Or is it that the norms, which we have now arrived at, are just the way it is in 21st century America?

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I need not imply anything regarding settling for mediocrity...we (as Americans) already have. From 98% of the houses constructed in the last 20 years, to the poor quality of almost every consumer item produced (bikes, toasters, windows, electronics, etc, etc); from the gutted public realm to the mediocre educations of our kids; from the almost universal piss poor customer service for things like computers and phone bills to the lack of will of our politicians. Mediocrity is embedded, I deal with it almost every time I have to buy a service or product. I have given up on most things because of their mediocrity and as such pay a premium for almost everything I need, like having to buy a Dualit toaster from Great Britian or having to import a bike from Denmark.

I am certainly not saying to shut up if something looks poor, but if we are talking about aesthetics, how do you define what poor looks like? In the case of this monument, what exactly is the threshold where it becomes poor? Is it the mass? composition? color? amount of "stuff" on it? What are the tangible requirements for definition of poor aesthetics?

I can ask 10 different people that question about that monument and most likely get 10 different takes. Likewise, if we are talking aesthetics, I can ask the same question about every building, automobile and article of clothing and get a wide cross section of rankings.

So in order for us to legislate taste, in a tasteless nation, what do we do? And where to do stop? Or is it that the norms, which we have now arrived at, are just the way it is in 21st century America?

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I still don't understand how you can beotch about people fighting a f-ugly looking monument and in the same breath complain about mediocrity. It doesn't make much sense. I think the whole point of this forum is to embrace the extraordinary and rail against mediocrity.

Joe

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Somehow I don't think "form-based zoning" includes a category of the Brittney Spears Degradation of Culture So We May As Well Approve Any Old Thing.

I don't have several hours to go through this site, but it looks like the Purple Heart is just one of dozens (hundreds?) of military awards. We could pave that park with ugly monuments!

http://www.usamilitarymedals.com/?gclid=CK...CFSQYZAodQkOo8w

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I am certainly not saying to shut up if something looks poor, but if we are talking about aesthetics, how do you define what poor looks like? In the case of this monument, what exactly is the threshold where it becomes poor? Is it the mass? composition? color? amount of "stuff" on it? What are the tangible requirements for definition of poor aesthetics?

I can ask 10 different people that question about that monument and most likely get 10 different takes. Likewise, if we are talking aesthetics, I can ask the same question about every building, automobile and article of clothing and get a wide cross section of rankings.

So in order for us to legislate taste, in a tasteless nation, what do we do? And where to do stop? Or is it that the norms, which we have now arrived at, are just the way it is in 21st century America?

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"The unanimous vote came despite protests from advocates for veterans, who argued the park should only honor those who died in combat. Walter McVeigh, a World War II veteran, argued the red marble monument created by the Military Order of the Purple Heart could have been placed at the Michigan Veteran's Home or Millennium Park instead."

Here we go. (Combat death stone coming right up!)

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