Letter to the Editor: Another perspective on the Freedom Rock

To the Editor:

I would like to share some facts and information with the public about the Freedom Rock.

It is my understanding that Ardie Kuhse commissioned the artist (Bubba Sorensen) to do a Freedom Rock for “us” here in Allamakee County. Ardie submitted a lot of the requirements needed to start the Freedom Rock project. She says she started this project back in 2016.

With that being said, only a few choice people heard about it until recently when its deadline is fast approaching. She mentioned previously about putting it in her husband’s hometown but was persuaded out of that and into putting it in the county seat, which is Waukon. She has a place picked out at our city park. She noted there was a lot of parking, restrooms, picnic areas along with space to develop and enhance the scope (landscaping) of the tourism project.

The only things that were not mentioned was the park will close in the fall, with no snow removal over winter, along with the restrooms, and the plumbing will be shut off. Another thing is the removal of a shelter. The rock will be a short distance from the children’s play area and the rocket slide. Will the children think the rock offers another place to climb?

The only way to view this tourist attraction is to drive through the entire park to see it. It can not be viewed from the highway because of the bushes. Ardie made the comment this will have to be noted in the Freedom Rock tourist guide. Another thing, with all the vandalism going on these days, will there be enough lights and patrol coverage?

Ardie has been approached by numerous veterans and Allamakee residents about placing the Freedom Rock between the Vet’s Club and museum. She feels she put a lot of work into this project and there is too little time to change the placement of the rock.

Don’t take me wrong, Ardie did do a lot of work and I’m not denying that, but the placement is where the disagreement comes into play. She also made the statement that since she submitted the application it was her decision as to the placement of the rock, if she wanted to, she could put it on her farm.

Another statement made was if we didn’t act upon this immediately, we would be the only county to not have a rock. Also the artist planned to finish all 99 counties this year. Due to circumstances out of his control, he will not be able to finish all 99 this year. He is hoping to finish them all in 2021.

Speaking about tourism, to me it makes more sense to have the tourist come through our downtown to see our new downtown plaza, our downtown businesses, and maybe visit our museum.

Other counties that have the Freedom Rock had a lot of publicity in their local newspapers, radio and TV advertisements. They also had fundraisers. Linn County has been working to raise $20,000 the last two years. They are raising this amount to quote, “bring this large-scale project to successful fruition.” Then in the summer of 2020

Freedom Rock artist Bubba Sorenson will paint the Linn County image on the rock. This could have been the way the Allamakee County Freedom Rock project went. Instead, the community is learning about it at the near deadline.

Never would have I also dreamed that such a meaningful and beautiful piece of artwork honoring the Veterans be placed in a children’s play area. This is just one Allamakee County resident with her own opinion.


Julie Johnson


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