Bluffton mayor says ‘inclusive’ signs will not be removed
BLUFFTON, Ind. (WPTA) - A sign of controversy in Bluffton as posts going around on Facebook and Twitter either celebrate or condemn the removal of these welcome signs.
They read: “Welcome. We are building an inclusive community.”
Bluffton Mayor John Wicker says that the city is not taking down the inclusive welcoming signs and wanted to set the record straight. He says he is angry with the social media posts that he says put Bluffton in a bad light.
Tuesday, the Board of Public Works and Safety voted to take down these six wooden ‘Welcome to Bluffton’ signs that had been placed around the different entrances to the city.
The mayor says the signs have been up since 1996 and were starting to fall apart. He says he does not understand how the inclusive signs were brought up because those signs were never discussed during Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Mayor Whicker does point out that the language in the vote could have been clearer to signal out just the wooden signs. He says he wants to be clear on were the city stands and to those who want the inclusive signs taken down.
“They are wrong, and I won’t support, and I won’t support the removal of any of the signs that say we welcome you and we are building an inclusive city. That would be my message,” Mayor Whicker says.
The inclusive signs have been up in Bluffton since Mayor Ted Ellis was in office.
In 2006, Bluffton was one of the first cities to join the ‘National League of Cities Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities’, which was an initiative nationwide to start a dialogue about diversity and acceptance, and to put up the signs to promote efforts to welcome everyone to the city.
Mayor Whicker says that he would like for the community to weigh in on the design of the signs that would replace the six wooden ‘Welcome to Bluffton’ signs. However, he says there is no timeline to replace those.
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