The Orange Leader
Citizens of Orange made sure their voices were heard against the Confederate Memorial of the Wind park during the Tuesday evening City Council meeting.
Concerns from the park being a distraction to drivers on the Interstate, the need for policies concerning the issuance of permits and keeping Orange peaceful are just a few of the concerns mentioned by residents during the citizens comment portion of the meeting.
Texas Open Meetings Act does not allow the council to respond to items not listed on the agenda.
“I feel the park will be a distraction to drivers on the highway,” Brenda F. Cooks said. “The flagpoles should be the height of a stop sign. It needs to be moved off MLK.”
The park is located on the corner of Interstate 10 and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The physical address is 4120 I-10 West. The permit originally said the address was ML King. Director of Planning and Community Development Jimmie Lewis said the location did not have an actual address since it was listed with just a street name.
“When we give a location an address, we go towards the major highway,” Lewis said. “To us, the property fronted on I-10.”
Paul Guillory Jr. spoke to the council concerning the permit issued to Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“We need to stop giving attention to Block and give it to the person who signed the permit,” Guillory said. “ It did not say it was for a Confederate Memorial, so the city should be willing to take it to a lawsuit. Someone made a mistake, let’s correct it before it becomes a bigger mistake.”
George LeVias told the council that a similar park was tried in Memphis.
“The permit was issued but once it was found out what it was for, it was rescinded,” LeVias said. “The memorial was not built. I want to see the permit here. The Civil War was a stain on our country, the worse stain for our country. We want to keep Orange peaceful.”
Brandon LeVias asked how the city could denounce the park or flag if the memorial was completed.
“I am speaking IF the park is completed,” LeVias said. “If it is completed, the city did not do enough to denounce it.”
Demetrius Moffett, pastor of The First Church of God - Orange, suggested a pastoral advisory committee for the city.
“Do we want a flag, gangs, or drugs to cause a division of the city” Moffett asked the council. “It is time to come together as a city. This could explode if not dealt with today”.
Moffett said he was serious about promoting Unity for the Community in Orange and the way the situation is handled will speak volumes about Orange.
An emergency reading for the consideration of an ordinance Article 7.1500 to regulate flagpoles, flags and banners within the city of Orange was placed on the agenda by City Attorney John Smith.
“Reading the charter versus the ordinance, I wanted to make sure there was not a future problem,” Smith said. “Essie Bellfield was not present at the last meeting.”
An emergency ordinance requires all to be in favor to pass. A majority vote is not acceptable in order to pass an emergency ordinance.
The ordinance was read in it’s entirety and the council passed an emergency ordinance. All members of the council were present.
The council held a public hearing concerning the annexation of .276 acres located at 4401 Happy Home Road.
Lewis was unsure of what the intentions of the owner for the use of the property, only that the owner asked it to be rezoned.
“We need to know the intentions because we may need to stop this now,” Councilmember Essie Bellfield said. “We don’t want to end up with a strip club there.”
The annexation was denied.