BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - In a statement sent to 23ABC, Council member Terry Maxwell said he is "steadfastly" against the plan to remove and replace the engraved bricks and tiles with concrete from the current site at Rabobank Arena.
Maxwell states that the bricks "are tributes to lost family members," and that "finding that piece of history provides entertainment and pride when one identifies with a tile or brick with the name of someone they know or remember."
In the statement, Maxwell asks concerned citizens to weigh in on this issue by calling their city council representative, even if they didn't buy a tile or brick, to offer "a suggestion on how the situation should be handled going forward."
Read the full statement below:
I am issuing this press release today in response to the press release issued Friday from the City of Bakersfield concerning the imminent removal of engraved bricks and tiles in front of the Rabobank Arena and Civic Center.
According to the Friday's press release, the current plan is to remove these mementos and replace them with concrete. After they are removed whatever is left will be made available to the original purchasers. I am steadfastly against this plan.
My understanding is that there were some 3969 engraved red bricks sold for $100 and 1380 engraved teal tiles sold for $250. In all, this effort netted $741.900.00 for a nonprofit organization to help celebrate the 100th birthday of our city. While I do not have any information at this point on that organization, it is common knowledge that individuals and organizations purchased these bricks and tiles for a variety of reasons and it was the understanding of those purchasers that the bricks and tiles would always be a part of the area in front of the arena. Many envisioned future generations of family and friends seeking out the special mementos that displayed the pride of the citizens that invested in such property. Many are tributes to lost family members and finding that piece of history provides entertainment and pride when one identifies with a tile or brick with the name of someone they know or remember.
The Rabobank Arena and Civic Center are in Ward 2 which I represent. While this facility serves all of Bakersfield, I was never asked for an opinion on this matter. the press release came out late Friday and took me by surprise as well as other councilmembers and our constituents. That was insensitive. This is truly a matter for the City Council of Bakersfield to consider during a public session and it may take some time and creative thinking. It should not be a unilateral decision by management.
I ask that this plan to remove these bricks and tiles be delayed immediately.
I ask that everyone who either bought a brick or tile and wants to weigh in on this subject to call or contact their City Council representative. Even if you did not purchase anything, you may want to comment or offer a suggestion on how the situation should be handled going forward. Bakersfield belongs to all of us.
I also request that this matter be put on a future agenda for the City Council to consider and that some alternatives be provided. If the City Manager is not able to proved alternatives, I would be happy to help.
I end with a comment that I received from a constituent who had purchased a brick and had heard about the plan. He was not just against the project, he was irate. He had no interest in getting his engraved brick back, but he did make a suggestion of what the city could do with it.
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