The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
Well, Blind Boone Park officially belongs to the City again. What was once a brush-covered snow dump is now a place for relaxation and enjoyment, with the possibility of being a venue for arts and music. Some local and Federal public money went into it, but the bulk of the effort came from private citizens, many of whom don't even live within the City.
The effort to redevelop the park was a classic example of "lead, follow or get out of the way." The amount of time & effort Sandy Irle put in as the leader is staggering. Followers were plenty, ranging form those who worked steadily on the project since it started in June 2000 to those who assisted in various other ways, ranging from working in the park to attending fund raisers. The City "got out of the way" by wisely eschewing the frequent practice of throwing up bureaucratic obstacles; the City was indeed helpful in other ways as well.
The effort was not without some glitches. One was the State DNR's delay by about a year in forwarding the paperwork to clear an already-approved Federal grant; it took intervention by certain legislators to shake it loose. Another glitch was the unfortunate accident when the Blind Boone statute was hit by a car; even that had its upside as the statue saved the United Missouri Bank building from serious damage. Rain caused a lot of construction delays, as well.
What does the Blind Boone Park effort prove? It proves that people inside and outside the City can work together to accomplish something for the community. It proves that it doesn't take someone in the "establishment" to accomplish an important project. It proves that someone with a strong vision, the ability to communicate it, and refusal to take "no" for an answer can do great things.
Go out to Blind Boone Park, enjoy the native flowers, stick your head inside the wind harp (on a windy day), take the walkway around the lower level and reflect on what a community can do.
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