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My suggestions and positive vision for Buffalo Park were offered in good faith. It appears that I have stirred the hornet’s nest instead of people’s imagination for inspirational public art.

I’ve heard considerable disagreement from my neighbors regarding what we should or should not do with our city’s flagship park. I agree that we should “do nothing to mar its grandeur” or infringe upon the magnificent natural vista one experiences within its boundaries. I have walked the trails many times and have a personal connection to Buffalo Park — both of my daughters attended Flagstaff High School and ran cross country in the park. The Eagles were Arizona State Champions three years straight!

I believe in democracy and I have heard from the majority. I appreciate Mayor Coral Evans' willingness to discuss and share ideas about our park. Like many of you she likes the buffalo statue. But she never raised her voice in anger when I suggested that we remove the deteriorating structure that has no horns or tail and replace it with a splendid bronze buffalo created by a contemporary American artist. She is a true lady and we should be proud to have her as our elected leader.

Some demand we make no changes. I am happy that some of you would like to see the portable toilets replaced with real restrooms using the same rustic stone architecture of the existing gateway. I also heard from some of you that you would like Parks and Rec. to permanently deal with the potholes in the parking lot and the muddy conditions that often exist at the entrance. Fortunately, Parks and Rec. has been considering proposals for some time.

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Over the years I have discussed various aesthetic elements at Buffalo Park with Karl Eberhard, the former City Engineer for Flagstaff. We did not always agree, but he was always friendly and shared opposing ideas like a gentleman. He is one of those people who respects that we are neighbors and he brings a smile to every conversation. Like the majority of you, he likes our buffalo statue and believes it reflects our city’s heritage in a positive way.

The one Beautification Commissioner that I spoke with made it clear that he was not willing to consider an alternative work of art. He told me the commission had already decided to patch up and repaint the stucco buffalo.

Although I have been involved in many community organizations during the past 42 years, my ideas on this matter are my own. I stand by my belief that the quality of our public art reflects the spirit and integrity of our community. It represents who we are. I also believe that democracy is a good thing and I know when I have been outvoted. Consequently, I will not be presenting any further comments at the Flagstaff Beautification and Public Art Commission meeting on April 8 nor at the Flagstaff Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on April 17. I hope our paths cross when walking our dogs in the park.

STEVE NELSON

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