The Saga of a Brick
In 2001 I bought a memorial brick to be placed in Gas Light Alley Park in Clearwater Florida. A community group called Citizens for a Better Clearwater was selling bricks that would be placed in the park to fundraise. My brick was to say "Remember Lisa McPherson." I have a web site about Lisa here if you're interested.
I sent off my payment for the brick with a check for $45.
I got a notice back thanking me for the orders. Then February 27, 2001, I got a notice from Citizens for a Better Clearwater saying that the orders would have to be rejected. "We have reviewed your application, along with your correspondence on the matter, and do not feel that we can accept donations for a brick from you, and still maintain the message of community harmony that we seek." On March 9 2001 I was interviewed on local radio about the brick. The question now was, how could a city park reject my brick based on such a simple message?
Attorney John Merrett sent a letter to the city asking about this.
Finally, I got a letter from Citizens for a Better Clearwater saying they would accept my brick.
On May 15, 2001 there was a big open-house for the park. I went to see if the brick was there and sure enough, it was. It was right below a bench where a person sitting there would put their feet.
In 2004, someone noticed that "Lisa McPherson" had been scratched off the brick;
I contacted the city to see about replacing it. They were agreeable, but when I contacted the brick company they said they had no more bricks of that color. It was finally agreed that the original brick would be sent to them, and they would engrave the back side and send it back to the city. This was done (several people helped pay for the engraving), and the city replaced the brick, but placed it closer to the entrance of the park so hopefully that would deter any more vandalism.
In 2014 a group of critics of Scientology held a conference near Clearwater. Some of the attendees went to view Lisa's brick, but they could not find it. Some locals then went to look for it as well, but it was gone.
I again contacted the city and was informed that I could replace the brick. I ordered a replacement brick from the same company, choosing the closest color to the original brick as I could. After a few weeks the city replaced the brick. This time they put it right at the entrance to the park, again hopefully to help prevent theft or vandalism;