Click on the photograph for a panoramic showing where the new bicentennial fountain SHOULD be located.
Bye Centennial apparently is the correct connotation for the activities and “celebrations” to be associated with Huntsville’s bicentennial year of 2005.
As Huntsvillian’s know, Huntsville was first founded in 1805 in and around the Big Spring downtown. There is more history in Huntsville than credit is often given, with the advent of Redstone Arsenal and the subsequent initiation of the German rocket program and Werner Von Braun appearing to overshadow the rich and colorful past of this premier southern city…a past that often seems to be deliberately shuffled aside rather than actually overshadowed. The Nazi’s referred to this process of historic cleansing and erasing as “expunging.”
There is no doubt that there are portions of our history that we all would just a soon hadn’t happened and we might be happier if we could just set them aside as though they didn’t. In reality, though, we live and learn from history, good or bad, and no one has the right to erase or glaze over that history just because they don’t think it accentuates their own favorite political agenda.
The events for Huntsville’s ByeCentennial celebration barely scratch the calendar so far, but what has been planned clearly shows a lack of rectitude on the part of the planners in regard to embracing Huntsville’s true heritage.
For openers there is the opener. A time capsule buried in 1955 on the southeast side of the courthouse is set to be open next week on January 20. Only an idiot, or someone who wished to make unneeded and unwanted overtures, would have scheduled the resurrection of the time capsule on that day. Why, on the same day as the presidential inauguration? Why, so close the Roe V. Wade anniversary? Why, in the dead of winter when the weather may well be cold and blustery? There are no good answers to the why’s. There are only political overtures, apparently intended by the planners to dampen the celebration, that are totally unnecessary and inappropriate.
The next horrendous travesty is that a new interactive fountain being planned to commemorate the celebration will be located uptown near the Early Works museum complex. Once the celebrations are over, the ONLY people who will be visiting that fountain will be captive school children on field trips to the Early Work complex. It’s too far out of the way for most Huntsvillian’s who casually visit downtown, and it’s not on ANY tourist path, except for the scarce few that actually visit Early Works.
Where should it go. Click on the picture link to see a panoramic view of Big Spring Park. The new fountain should go…guess what…right where the new Triad Office complex is going to be located. Big Spring Park should be expanded to include the area from the present north edge all the way up to Clinton Street and in between Church and Monroe Streets. The fountain would fit perfectly into this plan. Not only would school children on field trips enjoy the fountain and the park — the park and spring where Huntsville actually began — but located near the civic center and in proximity to the Hilton and the new
Ambassador Suites Hotel, it would also be directly in the path of many of our visiting tourist friends. And…it would also be immediately accessible to the many Huntsvillian’s who would like to continue enjoying their visits to the Big Spring and downtown. Ahh, but Loretta’s friends and commercial interests got in the way.
What a horrendous rape of public goodwill and property.
Then of course, that leads to the rest of the planning that apparently didn’t include (or worse yet the planning did include) this one-of-a-kind celebration. Planners have indicated that the main shebang of the whole charade will take place at Huntsville International Airport. Why? Well, first, Big Spring will be virtually inaccessible for the next two years to anyone as the two private commercial enterprises are constructed. Who knows about Panoply and Big Spring Jam. Then again, there are the overtures: “We value those who fly in to visit more than those who live here,” and “if you don’t like the new dictatorship you are free to catch a plane and leave.” And, “We really don’t want anyone to get that attached to Big Spring that’s why we planned the construction to interfere, because we are busy erasing the past.”
Even accepting the construction in Big Spring, shouldn’t the main event go to John Hunt Park? You know, the one named after the same founding father as the city itself? The one located centrally in Huntsville, at a spot that is also rich in Huntsville history.
Something is wrong in the River City Rocket City, and it’s time for Huntsvillian’s to wake up and smell the roses that aren’t in the gardens that don’t exist in Big Spring Park.
©2005 – Jim Casey