There is popular support for a sculpture garden park at 249 N. Main Street. More than 110 individuals have endorsed the park on the website OregonSculptureGarden.org, with five new endorsers in the last few days.

They support the positive idea of creating a unique environment to bring together artists, gardeners, students, teachers, businesses, service clubs, and other volunteers.

All Oregon citizens will enjoy this connection between art and nature: adults, children, seniors, individuals, families, hikers, bicyclists, picnickers, dog walkers, environmentalists, art lovers, and garden enthusiasts. More than 40 businesses and organizations have also endorsed this park because they know it will bring customers from outside of Oregon to our downtown.

Many endorsers have enthusiastically said they want to help build and maintain the park. Many want to join the friends group, advisory board, arts committee, or garden committee.

Derek Below, a Village Board trustee, has injected negativity into this exciting project. Unfortunately, rather than debate ideas, he has attacked the character of people whom he doesn’t agree with, including fellow trustees. This kind of behavior is unethical and needs to stop now. It tarnishes Oregon and undermines our village government.

I have personally known Rae Vogeler and Trustee Michael Wunsch for many years. Each of them has an admirable character, spirit of volunteerism, and level of honesty beyond reproach.

We, as a community, need to move on from Below's unseemly behavior and continue to imagine the kind of place we want Oregon to be: a vital and thriving town that believes in civility, respect, and working together.

Other towns have established community sculpture parks that have revitalized their downtowns. Eau Claire's Sculpture Tour has boosted sales for local businesses and added to the overall quality of life since 2010.

Stevens Point's Sculpture Park, operated by an all-volunteer committee for 12 years, has been an incredible asset to the city, improving people's health and wellness, engaging the community in lifelong learning, creating a sense of place, and helping tourism.

Red Wing, Minnesota recently began their Art Walk. In 2021, even during the pandemic, Red Wing businesses had their best year ever due to their sculptures and downtown programs. The day after Thanksgiving, downtown Red Wing took in $500,000 in sales, attributing much of their success to the sculptures that drew people to the downtown.

A beautiful community park is the highest, wisest, and best use for the property at 249 N. Main Street.

Wendy Powers

Oregon

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