To The Editor:
I am appealing to our city council and the community at Large with a sense of urgency and concern in the matter of the Old Ramon’s property located at 719 E. Grand River Avenue in Old Town. To those among us who are not familiar with this building, I can describe it as a beautifully renovated building in a southwestern style design reminiscent of the Mexican culture and the historical Alamo landmark. Encapsulated on the interior walls from floor to ceiling and wall to wall is a beautiful hand painted mural depicting the creation story and history of Mexico. A work of art any way you look at it.
It has recently come to the attention that there is a deal on the table for the purchase of the building. As we all know the Old Town associations and neighborhood associations and small businesses in old town have worked diligently and vigilantly to develop, attract and accentuate the growth and prosperity of Old Town. The apparent big picture plan is to continue building Grand River as a commercial and entertainment district, as well as a cultural and artistic haven that will attract people from other communities to Old Town. This is an integral and necessary step toward raising the quality of life for both the residents and other small businesses in the area. In retrospect, the money spent on the Old Ramon’s rehabilitation as well as adjacent buildings is a testament to the commitment of this goal. But it is for these very same reasons that as a city council, you have to seriously consider the big picture and long-term goals in consideration when choosing to fill this particular property.
I applaud the ambition, intention and sincerity of the Christian Family Fellowship Church in wanting to plant roots in old town. I applaud you. But I will be the first to say with all due respect that I believe you are sincerely wrong in picking this particular building that could have a multitude of effects both in continuing the economic and commercial development of this area as well as protecting the integrity and cultural significance of the Alamo and it’s enclosed art.
There has been mention and fervor that this opposition is racially motivated. I believe this to be ludicrous and without merit, especially when we take into consideration that Old Town is by far one of the most diverse communities in the entire city. And to those of you who chose to play that card…shame on you, and dually noted. But I will say this…to not address the cultural significance of both the building facade and the Mexican mural would in itself be and act of racism at the most, and culturally insensitive at the least. Thank you and …remember the Alamo?