Due to a poor choice of words on my part, I need to revisit my last Gazette column, published Tuesday, Aug. 31. In that column I wrote that “city employees refuse to spell correctly.”
The name of the Janesville street I live on is spelled incorrectly. After I pointed this out, I received a reply from “city hall” telling me that street names are spelled the way the developer spells them and that’s the way it is.
The Janesville city manager informed me that when I wrote that ”city employees refuse to spell correctly,” I was accusing all city employees of refusing to spell correctly. He has a point. It is possible to conclude that my remarks were directed at all city employees.
I need to clarify my intent. My comments were directed only to those city employees involved in the “city hall” response I received. I should have indicated that in my column. It was a mistake not to, and I apologize to any city employee who misunderstood my comments and was offended.
My history with city employees goes back nearly 50 years. During that time, I have frequently disagreed with city policy and those responsible for it, but I cannot recall any time I have been disrespectful toward city employees. Quite the contrary.
I have always recognized the dedication, knowledge and skill demonstrated by Janesville city employees. I’ll let my record speak for itself regarding my attitude toward city employees.
Again, my choice of words in the Aug. 31 column was a mistake. On that point, the city manager and I agree.
The Armory in Janesville is back in the news, this time because it is up for sale—again.
KANDU Industries is selling the property after deciding to concentrate on off-site catering. It is also selling the Pontiac Convention Center as part of its move to off-site business.
The Pontiac Convention Center, a former roller rink, is of little, if any, historical significance. The Armory is a much different property.
The Gazette article published Tuesday points out the Armory was built in the 1930s to house the U.S. Army’s 32nd Tank Division of Wisconsin. Its place in history came when the Janesville 99 went off to serve in the Pacific during World War II. The brave men, mostly from Janesville, were captured, tortured and forced into the Bataan Death March.
The Armory is called the Armory because it is an armory. As defined by Merriam-Webster, an armory is a place where arms and military equipment are stored, especially one used for training reserve military personnel.
The Armory in Janesville was once the headquarters for the Rock County Historical Society for the very reason the building is an armory: Historical artifacts could be stored there safely.
The use of the Armory for historical purposes came at a cost. The historical society decided to locate in the Armory rather than focus on saving the Myers Theater from the wrecking ball. The historical society has since moved to the Tallman House campus, and the Armory remains much as it was when built. And the Myers Theater, once a significant opera house, is gone forever.
A serious community-wide conversation is necessary to determine the future of the Armory and other historic properties in Janesville. To that end, I have invited Rock County Historical Society Executive Director Tim Maahs to join me later today on my WCLO talk show to begin the conversation.
He is scheduled to be on the air at 3:15 p.m. I hope you will be able to listen at that time. If not, the discussion will be archived as a podcast and available on the WCLO website.