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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Letters to the Editor: Coudersport Arboretum Sale


Defend What You Love

To follow is a letter that we received and obtained permission from authors to share with media.

We feel Mr. Caldwell's viewpoint, as creator of our beloved Veterans Memorial Wall of Honor in the Coudersport Arboretum, and being a veteran himself is especially relevant and noteworthy of public's attention particularly since Commander of our local legion, American Legion Post #192 said that results of a recent meeting determined that the consensus of the legion is to not involve itself in the “politics” of this.

We are grateful to Mr. Caldwell and all who've contributed to the Honor Wall for our veterans. We are fortunate to have gained such a monumental asset to our community due to the voluntary efforts of many who were dedicated to this project. We invite veterans to comment and make your opinion known. Your response is valuable and appreciated.

We resolutely uphold our mission to oppose sale of any portion of the grounds of our Arboretum, “A Living Tribute.”


The Friends of The Coudersport Arboretum, Inc. Secretary

Georgeanna DeCarlo Coudersport

Veterans Honor Wall Creator Opposes Arboretum Sale

I would like to address the issue of Sheetz and the purchase of the Coudersport Arboretum Memorial Park.

First of all, I was born here in Coudersport and left for a few years while serving in the military and living in Denver CO. We have lived in many places but have always considered this our home. I moved my family back here in 1981. I had long admired the honor wall that had been on the Old Rexall Drug store on Main and East Second. 

When it was removed many years ago, I vowed that one day I would return an honor wall to Coudersport in memory of all of the men and women who served our country from Coudersport. Finally I started working on a list of men and women who had served and some who died protecting our freedom. I worked with the late Bob Currin from the Coudersport Historical Society to get a list of veterans from the early wars. I then advertised on the local radio stations, papers, internet and local storefronts/businesses for people to come forward with the names of family members. I sat at many local events with a booth asking for names. 

Finally, I felt that the list was close to complete and along with the late D. Bruce Cahilly applied for and received a grant to build the current memorial. With the Coudersport Legion we were able to erect the wall. I had a local merchant put all of the names in a medium to attach inside of the wall in a glass enclosure. Once it was complete, I turned guardianship over to the Coudersport Legion, they remodeled it a few years ago to what it currently is. Also, we purchased all of the flags and poles in front of the wall which are lit in the evening. There was an iron eagle donated by a local person and painted by Lisa Snyder.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of hours and time that was lovingly spent on this. Myself and many other people were involved in different ways on this wall. It should be in a place of respect for all of the soldiers/veterans who served from this area. I felt that the Arboretum was the perfect place because it was developed in the same manner. Every tree was placed exactly where it stands by someone in memory of their loved ones. They stood there and prayed, cried, or rejoiced at that very spot. Each brick and bench was placed in the same manner. The ceremony that we had in honor of raising the flags was done with great care and respect. The same was done with everything that is in the Arboretum.

I understand that there has to be progress but had it not been for our history, we would not be here. That park is a celebration of our history. It should be respected.

Sheetz could very easily turn their business to face the church and purchase the BP garage from the Kudricks and still have what they want. I realize there is an issue with the ground being contaminated but the cost in moving the Arboretum couldn't be worse than the cost of cleaning the ground at BP. The Kudricks want to sell. Sheetz wants to expand. Seems like a win/win to me.

The Arboretum should stay where it is as it has been designated as a park for a long time and it would be a crime to disrespect the people it memorializes. It is with great hope that you consider ruling in our favor to protect the Coudersport Arboretum and memorial park.

Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter.

Ralph and Margaret Caldwell



Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that Sheetz didn't want to buy the old BP, cause they want to be able to sell alcohol.
If there is any truth to this, an sheeSh would have to move. Cause they can't be with in 300 ft of a church, I believe.

Jimmy Crakcorn said...

Why are you narrow minded people so opposed to capitalism and expansion in your town? Nothing is going to be will just be relocated and , in my opinion, be located in a much more accessible location and with the money provided there can be a lot of major additions done to the remainder of the arboretum including accessible parking that isn't currently available. This can be a win as a whole for the entire community, but have the snooty nosed of a few select locals that can't even manage their own lives trying to make decisions for the whole town.

Anonymous said...

If this was grant money how can they undo it? would the grant have to be repaid?

Elaine Russell said...

Thank you Ralph and Margaret. My husband is a 12 year veteran of the Air Force, and we are humbled and honored by this wall in our little town. It's a shame everyone doesn't feel this way.

Anonymous said...

It's all a moot point now...Sheetz is going to rebuild at Costa's... so let it go people, take a break for the winter...

Cathy Bowers said...

All I can say to "Jimmy Crack Corn" is that it would appear that YOU are the narrow-minded person. The majority of the people who stand proud and have deep respect for the Arboretum are those of us who have spent most of our lives here. WE know the people who sacrificed their lives so "we the People" have rights. How long have you lived here? What family members do YOU have on the Wall of Honor?

I believe I know who you are as I have heard your song and dance many times. It also appears that you do not give a tinker's damn about anybody or anything except YOU. You know, just living the good life as you purportedly have been heard saying.

I personally do not think you have a clue about "Our Town". If you did you would understand. Peace Be With You. (PS - try giving your name, instead of being such a yellow-bellied sap sucker).

Anonymous said...

Jimmy crackcorn it's because liberals hate capitalism oh that is unless it benefits their pockets ! Just take a look at some of the surrounding areas that liberals have run for years . They have turned them into crap holes with run down and abandoned properties on every street !!

Jimmy Crakcorn said...

Ms Bowers....I think you need to get out among the people and leave your secure circle of narrow minded followers to see just how ALL of the people feel about this. Your group makes it sound like the whole arboretum is going to be destroyed when, in fact, only about one tenth of it will be moved. Just think of the additions and enhancements that could be made with the purchase money? Why can't you people see past the end of your noses and realize that the arboretum could still stay fully intact and have other thing improved? By the way...whoever thinks that they are going to put it on the Costa's lot is mistaken, because that area is deemed "flood zone" and Sheetz is not going to build there.

Ralph Caldwell said...

Mr. Crackcorn, I have been told personally by Mr. George Hults that the money from the sale of the Arboretum will be used for road repair and like projects. I suggest in the future you check your facts before you speak. In the words of John Moore, "Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception, do not confuse the two with 'facts' and 'truths'.

Ralph Caldwell said...

Mr. Jimmy Crackcorn when you hide behind an alias your words are less powerful and meaningless. Stand up and be heard. Use your true identity.

Anonymous said...

The Arboretum is in a dumb place to start with. Why not move the entire thing to the lot across from the jail, as someone suggested, or elsewhere, so IT CAN BE SEEN , & then Sheetz can have the entire corner. Problem solved.

Angela Caldwell said...

Moving the Arboretum is not an option for the people that have invested time and money into it. The sentiment of the place appears to be lost on some people. The intent of the park is not only a place of remembrance for friends and love ones, but it was intended to be a place of community.
What happened to our Coudersport?

Angela Caldwell said...

Thank you Anonymous for your comment. My thought is Sheetz can move and give the corner to the Arboretum. This way it can be larger and be seen by even more people. I heard Costas was for sale... maybe a bigger better Sheetz can move there? Just and idea. It all comes down to choices everyone. Make the right choice for all of our sake.

Jason Caldwell said...

Mr crackcornball my father is far from a man who is can not manage his own life. I am very very proud to call him my father. He has done more in his life then you will ever dream of doing. He has served his country in the US Air Force and retired with full honors. He has been a successful businesses man. He has given more of him self them most any other man I have ever known. To me this whole issue is not about Sheetz it's about one simple plain fact. RESPECT. I understand progress but I also understand a community and remembering those who sacrificed to build it.

Sami said...

Well, Mr. Crack...corn ~ you have repeated your thoughts over and over again - nothing new. Do you understand what a dedication is? Do you know how many years the dedicated Arboretum, along with the caboose, has existed? George Hults appears to be notorious for making statements as to what/or perhaps whom the money is going. He told members of the Friends of the Arboretum that he has never wanted to sell it - he wants to keep it. When asked why he didn't vote no to sell his answer was "because I want the courts to settle it." I believe that is exactly what is going to happen.

The Arboretum is not the Boroughs to sell. It has nothing to do with politics, as you so boldly suggest,nor does it have anything to do with the left or right. YOU are trying your best to make this political rather than fact. It has everything to do with the law (something for which you have no clue). You are a coward, you have made untrue statements to people, and it appears that you think you and your cronies have this in the bag. As George Hults said,"let the courts decide.
To the people of our beautiful Town, please do not be bullied into thinking that the Arboretum belongs to the Borough - no politics involved - just the facts that it does not belong to them. Count the names on the Wall of Honor, bricks, trees, light posts, named flowers and shrubs. The Arboretum also serves as a place to learn. The American Legion has stated they will stand beside the Arboretum members and support them. We applaud their honesty and commitment. These are the REAL men and women of the country. What would you call a person who is too afraid to give their name? Be honest for once!
Blessings and Peace,
Cathy Bowers

Unknown said...

Thank you Sami. Your words ring true.