Should Decatur name one of its downtown parks in honor of Preston Jackson?
SHOULD DECATUR NAME ONE OF ITS DOWNTOWN PARKS IN HONOR OF PRESTON JACKSON?
The City of Decatur owns two downtown parks, Central Park, and an unnamed park immediately west of N Water St between E. William St and E North St. To date, this unnamed green space is referred to as “Decatur City Center Plaza” and in the middle of the park stands a sculpture entitled “From the Cottonfield to the Battlefield.” The sculpture, dedicated on August 1, 2009, is “in honor of the thousands of African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War in defense of equal rights for all.” The sculpture was created by Preston Jackson, a renowned artist and Decatur native.
Mr. Jackson’s has numerous public commissions and his sculptures can be found in public places throughout the state. He was selected as the 1998 Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois (the highest state honor individuals can receive) and is a Professor Emeritus at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. Jackson’s sculptures have been in exhibitions across the region, and in 2018, his work was exhibited by the Decatur Area Arts Council. A park named after Mr. Jackson will be a fitting tribute to an individual who has brought beauty and inspiration to so many, and a park in his honor may serve as a focal point for outdoor art activities in the city.
What do you think? Should the unnamed park in downtown Decatur be named in honor of Preston Jackson?
ALLOWING FOOD TRUCKS IN DOWNTOWN DECATUR TO BE VOTED ON AT NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Since at least July 2019, members of the city council and city management have been discussing permitting food trucks in the central business district. Nearly three years later, food trucks will likely be allowed downtown. This will be a wonderful benefit to the citizens of Decatur who will have more choices of where to eat and in doing so can bring more people downtown. More people means a place that is more vibrant and appealing.
New small businesses including food trucks should be welcomed to the community and the removal of these long-standing governmental regulations should allow additional businesses, including minority-owned businesses, to thrive. More people downtown should also benefit brick-and-mortar restaurants who will have an increased customer base. Competition is important for consumers as it can lead to lower prices and higher quality products and services.
As of Friday, May 13, the COVID-19 case rate per 100k was 192 and the positivity rate was 10% in Macon County (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker). Many restaurants in downtown followed COVID-19 safety laws throughout the pandemic and we thank these establishments for keeping their customers and employees safe. Unfortunately, many did not. Food trucks provide a safe, outdoor alternative to establishments that do not take COVID-19 safety precautions when COVID-19 metrics warrant it.
I am very supportive of permitting food trucks in downtown Decatur.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
The next city council meeting will take place on Monday, May 16. Meetings take place at 5:30 PM in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.