To the editor:
On behalf of the Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Committee, I would like to respond to a recent letter to the editor critical of our project (“City Hall ‘must have too much money’,” April 22).
Ours is a true public effort, as different community members assembled feel a need to better memorialize one of our nation’s 44 presidents, considering he was born in our beautiful town of Delaware.
The letter writer referenced “wasted tax dollars” and, while some public money is going to be used for the conceptual drawings and project planning, the overwhelming majority of funds will be solicited privately. City of Delaware staff have been invaluable to this effort, a far cry from the “too many assistants with nothing better to do,” the letter writer mentioned.
The city will be integral in sustaining the memorial statue, so having city staff involved only makes sense.
But city employees, it appears, are in good company when it comes to being criticized, for the letter writer also was critical of President Hayes. The gentlemen suggested Hayes was somehow undeserving of recognition because he was “born here and then left.” This is simply not the case; President Hayes was very involved in different aspects of the community throughout his life, including at Ohio Wesleyan University, where Hayes served in different leadership positions during the university’s early years.
As governor of Ohio, he played a leading role in the founding of the “State Agricultural and Mechanical College.” Today we know this institution as the Ohio State University of which many Delaware residents are proud alumni. Hayes was a Civil War general, was wounded in battle, served three terms as governor and, of course, was the 19th president of the United States — certainly a resume of service rivaled by few.
Finally, the committee would like to point out the proposed location of the statue (the southwest corner of Sandusky and William streets) is not owned by the city; it is privately owned property, and the owner is working with us to see the statue erected.
The committee would like to thank everyone who thus far has shown support for the project, and welcomes all community feedback.
Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Committee