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Letters to the Editor

BRESLIN: There's a reason the mural can come down

The Lincoln-Douglas mural across from Washington Square in Ottawa.
The Lincoln-Douglas mural across from Washington Square in Ottawa.

To the Editor:

For those who are upset about the moving of the Lincoln-Douglas mural, please let me clarify a few things.

The mural program was created in 2000 to bring our lovely downtown back to life. Ottawa was digging out of a difficult recession and over half the buildings downtown were vacant. There was no foot traffic. There was no night life.

Hoping to bring more people downtown and encourage more business to come to Ottawa, we copied a successful mural program in a small Canadian town that had the same challenges Ottawa was facing.

In Ottawa’s mural program, each building owner who consents to letting us put up a mural signs a license agreement that controls how long the owner must keep the mural on the building.These periods are not the same for every mural but the majority range from 20 to 25 years. (Exception: I&M Canal mural has NO time protection.)

If the owner sells the building the new owners have to honor our agreement. In the case of the Lincoln-Douglas mural, its license is for 25 years and, yes, it has several years remaining before it expires.

So, why are they being allowed to take it down? Because their new proposed development fulfills exactly the purpose for which we started the mural program. In addition, the new owners are removing and reinstalling the mural at their own expense in a location of our choosing.

It will not be forgotten or destroyed. We are sad to see it moved, but we are committed to finding the very best location for it under the circumstances.

PEG BRESLIN

Chair of the Brush with History Committee, 2000-2003 and 2016-present

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