reprinted from the Sewanee Mountain Messenger
Civic Association Hears About Marker at SES, Community Parks Planning
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
More than 50 people attended the Sept. 4 dinner meeting of the Sewanee Civic Association, the first meeting of the academic year. The agenda included reports about plans for a marker commemorating the desegregation of Sewanee Elementary School (SES) and the community park project.
Efforts to desegregate SES in the early 1960s led to a lawsuit resulting in the 1964 desegregation of all Franklin County Public Schools. In observance of the 50th anniversary of desegregation, the Civic Association requested permission from the state to post a commemorative marker at SES. Director of Classifieds Elizabeth Clark Duncan said they anticipate a reply from the state on the proposed wording in October. One side of the marker will list the eight families named in the lawsuit, which was unique for involving both white and African-American plaintiff s. The other side will read [in part]: “The Sewanee community raised funds to add four new classrooms to the Sewanee Public School…eliminating the argument that there was insufficient space to educate all of the community’s children together.”
The Civic Association is trying to gather contact information on the families and others involved in the lawsuit in an effort to include them in the dedication ceremony set for Jan. 20, 2014, to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. If you can help, email Cameron Swallow.
The Civic Association will pay for the marker, estimated to cost $1,000, with money raised from the fee for being on the Sewanee Classifieds email list.
Emily Puckette reported on the survey conducted by the Parks Committee to gather community input about plans to construct a community park and playground. She was pleased that 150 community members responded. Of the five proposed sites—Elliot Park, the Sewanee Community Center, Woodlands, the ballpark and St. Mark’s Community Center—two-thirds of those responding named Elliot Park as their top choice. The most frequently suggested equipment for a park was a climbing structure, swings, and a slide.
All parks must be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, Puckette said. Half of the play components need to accommodate disabled children, and walkways and ground surfaces need to be wheelchair accessible. Director of Parks Steve Burnett said the Parks Committee would analyze the survey data, determine the location and footprint of the proposed park, and then submit Requests for Information to possible vendors. Other projects that are part of the committee’s charge include the Little League and soccer fields.
Vice President Kiki Beavers updated members on the 2013–14 Community Chest fund drive, co-chaired by Beavers and Past-President Theresa Shackelford. Last year the organization raised nearly $100,000, exceeding the goal, which enabled the Civic Association to honor requests for emergency funding received during the summer.
JoAnn McKiernan announced AngelFest 2013, held in conjunction with the Angel Park initiative. Scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20, there will be children’s activities from 4 to 7 p.m., including a treasure hunt with prizes donated by local businesses. In the evening, Towson Engsberg and Friends and Stagger Moon Band will perform.
The next Civic Association meeting is scheduled for Wed., Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. in the EQB House. The program will feature Jim Davidheiser, professor of German, who will talk about the dual-education system that he believes is key to Germany’s economic success.