Previous news....

During the week of February 18-24, 2011, the City removed the shelter house and gazebo.

THE LATEST UPDATE AS AT THE BOTTOM AS OF 2/1/12

Above is a photo after the gazebo was replaced that I built.

GAZEBO  BEFORE


THE NEW PLAYGROUND.

As of 9/28, current photos of the new Gazebo and shelter house.


NEARLY THE SAME VIEW ON FEBRUARY 22ND......SAD

New shelter house.

City insurance required the structures to be made of metal since there are BBQ grills there.  I believe they did an awesome job with the shelter, but but my gazebo to shame.  Over the last 25 years, nearly 50 couples were married in that old gazebo.  I'm thinking, why didn't you just move the grills a little farther away from the building and have an emergency fire extinguisher available?  If this was old school Parkville, then we'd have to remove every building and slap up some metal fake thing......By the way, the water meter in this photo has a lock........GO FIGURE......    I guess when you go back in time to Dodge City or Colorado to real ghost towns...I guess they must violate every law there is.............YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT'S HISTORY FOLKS.......    If Riverside had the White House, they would likely tear it down... Riverside has no "historical" means to save something important.


BELOW IS FROM BEFORE 2011 WHEN THE CITY DESTROYED A SIGNIFICANT PART OF HISTORY....


UPDATED THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24 TH, 2010.. newest updates are at the bottom of the page.

Summer, 2009. Exactly 10 years after a similar project ended all public evidence of archaeology at Line Creek Park, it would appear that the City of Riverside is taking the same path with the Renner Site. These sites are very similar in more ways than one and are only a few miles apart and both under "private" control by local governments.

Of the 283,140 square feet, 6,827 have been excavated.  About 60,000 square feet was destoryed when Vivion Road was put in the mid 1930's.  About 30,000 sq ft was destroyed when the Great Lakes Pipe Line installed 5 lines through the property in the early 1930's.  The Renner home was builit in 1921 and destroyed about 1,000 square feet.  Through commercial development of a new City Hall, approximately 141,578 square feet has been lost since 2000.  That leaves 43,735 virgin square feet.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The problem appears to be the lack of knowlege from previous work from the city point of view.  The city would like their own results from SCI.  A proper SCI investigation should yield their work as well as work done over the past 80 years.


Many letters were sent to the City and many of those people also attended two council meetings. Most of the letters were sent to the mayor and council and it is unkown who actually got the letters and who read them and if they were shared.

This story plays out in three parts. The first part with Gary Brenner meeting with the City last October about the playground project, where he objected to the project and at the same time offered his help and the City agreed to keep him informed. The second part occured in early March where Mr. Brenner was asked to meet with the contractor at the park. Brenner, met with the contractor and for the first time saw the size and scope of the project where this, "wasn't a playground, this is a construction project." Brenner immediately sent emails, made phone calls to everyone he knew had an interest in the site, including Native Americans and professionals, to help save the site. In the meantime the letters were sent. The city was visited by several people at a council meeting April 21 st. in support of no playground at the site.  Those in attendence were Gary Brenner, Gary Kroencke, Nancy Blue, Mary and Mike Smith (the current owners of the Renner Home) and there were several other. But there were no professional available to speak at this meeting.

As early as April 1st, Brenner had requested letters and emails to be sent in his desperate attempt to call on help to stop the project.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here are excerpts from letters, emails sent to the City before July 13 .

March 13 TH, 2009

Jim D. Feagins, Archaeological Consultant and past and present board member of the Missouri Archaeological Society (MAS) and the Kansas City Archaeological Society.  He is a renowned professional on the history of the Hopewellian complex in Kansas City.

I hope the  city officials realize what an archaeologically important National Register of Historic Places site they actually have in their city limits. This is the type site for the whole Kansas City Hopewell complex and also contains some additional evidence of earlier and later prehistoric people.  Your park gives adults and childeren the opportunity to learn and reflect about the lives of the ancient people who once lived at this location.  This is a site that should be of major pride to the citizens of Riverside, and it presents a tremendous educational opportunity to its citizens and visitors.

An excavation needs to be conducted with certain precise methods in order to keep the context intact and in order to answer questions about the past that in more recent years we have the ability to answer.  It is also important to concerve as much of the site as possible for a future time when we will undoubtedly hae techniques available to learn even more.

The more the Renner site is altered visually, the harder it becomes for each visitor, even with the sinage, to ponder the ancient lifestlye and environment at this location.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gary D. Brenner.

On March 19th, Brenner sent an excerpt from the Platte County Gazette in 1989 where he gave a prediction on the Renner Site.

"It's more of a place to come and pay your respects and appreciate the cultural things we have that a lot of people don't.  I think it'll be another 20 or 30 years before people really appreciate places like this park.  ..it will always be a quiet park with no water slides or tennis courts."

He also forwarded an excerpt from the Platte County Gazette from June 20 th, 1990

"Throughout the many years that followed, Shippee made numerous visits to the Renner site. In 1984, at the age of 88, Shippee made his final visit to the site. It was at that time that Gary Brenner informed him the city had acquired the property with the intention of making it a park. (Shippee) smiled and told Brenner, 'thank you".

In that same article, Shippee had his own prediction.  The reporter had asked Brenner what Shippee would think if the Hopewell could return today.  Shippee replied to Brenner, "Well, they would leave in disgust".   The paragraph was ended with a quote from Brenner, " I hope we have changed that a little today".

At the end of the article, Brenner said, " I think it's fairly important to note that people lived here, gave birth here, raised faimilies and died here. This was their home and I hope we will always respect that. If we don't respect that, then what do we respect?"(1990)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Neal H. Lopinot, Ph. D., Director and Research Professor.  Secretary, Missouri Archaeological Society, Center for Archaeological Research, Missouri State University. (March 20, 09)

Neal had sent a long letter.  His main point was the city had no problem destroying half the site by building a new city hall and and never even considered any kind of archeological survey.  There was nothing done to mitigate damage.

"I'm sure you've read the marker in the park and you know or at least have heard from others that the Renner Site is the type site for the so-called Kansas City Hopewell.  Did you know that the site was also occupied before and after that extremely interesting period of time? I would also hope that someone cares enough about trying to preserve this small, but importantnt piece of the past for future generations."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas M. Brandom, President of the National Center for Indigenous American Cultures and Line Creek, Inc. (March, 29, 09)

There are many documented historic sites in Riverside, but most of them are under buildings or parking lots.  It would be a shame to (destroy) another documented site.

We are deeply committed to saving the historic lands from destruction.  Once they are destroyed, they are gone forever.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chief Glenna Wallace.  Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (April 2, 09)

Providing current and future children a place to play sounds like a noble and worthwhile cause.  And in most situations I would applaud those efforts.  The Renner Site, however, is an exception to this situation because of its historical and archaeological significance.

The Hopewell Complex of Kansas City is located at Renner-Brenner Park and every effort should be taken to preserve this documented historic site.  This land is sacred land which has been hom to Native Americans representing ancient cultures as far back as 5,000 years. 

I beg of you to honor my ancestors asnd ancestors of other Native Americans by constructing your playground elsewhere.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lyle Sparkman, President of the Missouri Archaeological Society. (Apri 2, 09)

We all enjoy watching the youngest members of our families play on equipment and I do not question the City's impulse to provide that.  I am, however, suggesting that equipment would be better located at another site.  You have inherited one of the great treasures of the State of Missouri and its care and preservation should be a hallmark of your administration.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About June 25th, the City hired SCI to do a professional excavation.

Despite the letters and objections, SCI was to begin their work on July 13 th.

In SCI's proposal they said all field work will be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Indentification of Archaeological Resources (48 FR 44720-23).

Apparently, this was good enough for the city.  However, the 48 FR 44720-23 guidlines were established for discovering new resources.  SCI covered themselves somewhat by hinding behind the SISG.  In fact, the SISG has no guidelines regarding this type of project unless it's under the National Park Service.  In other words, this was the closest guidelines SCI could use but otherwise had a contract. 

SCI didn't have to follow any guidelines since this privately owned.  Except for the fact this property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In SCI's defense, they followed the guidlines that were there.  The Renner Site has the potential to lose their National Register status over a playground.  SCI also is risking their professional status.

The guide lines from the Secretary of the Interior are under three categories. Standard, I, II and III. 

I. Is preservation planning.

II. Results of preservation planning.

III. Identification, results and preservation.

From (48 FR 44720-23)

Field Studies: The implementation of the research design in the field must be flexible enough to accommodate the discovery of new or unexpected data classes or properties, or changing field conditions. A phased approach may be appropriated when dealing with large complex properties or groups of properties, allowing for changes in emphasis or field strategy, or termination of the program, based on analysis of recovered data at the end of each phase. Such an approach permits the confirmation of assumptions concerning property extent, content or organization which had been made based on data gathered from identification and evaluation efforts, or the adjustment of those expectations and resulting changes in procedure. In some cases a phased approach may be necessary to gather sufficient data to calculate the necessary sample size for a statistically valid sample. A phased documentation program may often be most cost-effective, in allowing for early termination of work if the desired objectives cannot be achieved.

SCI knew exactly what they were doing in the bid.  They knew this was a private land on the National Register of Historic Places.  In archaeology world, this was a piece of cake for them.  They knew they didn't have to follow any guide lines other than doing the most professional job they could with what they were being paid to do and had to offer evidence they were following some kind of guidelines.

In SCI's bid they said they would take into account established National Park Service and SHPO  survey guidelines.  They said that knowing full well neither enity could do nothing.    But, it looked impressive in the proposal to the people with the check book. It should be noted the SHPO was never notified about this project.

The focus of (48 FR 44720-23), is not professional instructions on how a professional can destroy a site.  Their focus is a management plan on how to deal with it once you have.  There's nothing there that says you can use mechanical means or offer a buffet of options on how a professional can otherwise screw it all up.  In SCI's bid, they did bid for a Cultural Management Plan and they were awarded that part of the bid.

SCI's proposal offered three options. 

1. To hand excavate the 5,400 area. $30,000 - 2 weeks

2. Perform a small number of hand excavated one meter by one meter units in various locations within the project area. This would serve as a baseline for understanding the contextual issues within the project area prior to using mechanical means to remove the old plow zone.  SCI would propose excavating three to five 1 x 1 meter units and then use mechanical means to remove the plow zone from the remaining portions of the project area.  $15,000---5 days

3. Each layer would be closely monitored by the archaeological crew annd all artifacts would be removed as located.  If significant artifact concentrations are located, or archaeological features are located, the mechanical means would be stopped.  From this point, all significant artifact concentrations and archaeological features would be hand excavated.  This third method will take the least amount of time but runs the risk of damaging intact cultural resources until such time as they are identified. $8,500.--2 days

The city chose the cheapest option, #3.  All  options included a $3000 charge for a cultural Management Plan.

Here lies the problem  Even with option 3, SCI failed to do their job.  Option 3, said, " all significant artifact concentrations and archaeological features would be hand excavated".

The problem is SCI underestimated the potential for discovery.  Even though they had the best of intetntions, they got the bid and ran into there with what they thought was going to be a trickle of water that turned out to be a waterfall. 

To give SCI some credit, they did spend two weeks and roughly excavated about 25% of the area, with the bulk being by mechanical means, but did investigate features by hand methods.

SCI did not investigate the entire 5,400 square feet.  They roughly did the western part of the area and tried to focus their work to the playground footing plans.  It was obvious to Brenner that in the latter stages of the project, shovels had become the tool  of choice in a desparate attempt to finish up this large scale project.

Brenner reported after SCI had completed their work, that he saw SCI had found three deep pits.  One being bell shaped and the other two being conical.  He found one complete spearpoint and a a sraper laying right on the surface upon a recent visit.

From Brenner: "What I saw was a desperate attempt to complete a project.  I found three discovered pits, mostly along the west side.  Besides obvious hand shoveling, I saw little attempts to excavate along the east side.  I did note where the playground dry wells are to go, that there was an attempt to excavate that area.  I'm not sliding SCI because they did what they were asked to do, but this work on a NR site was unprofessional and should not have been considered a salvage operation.  SCI should never have given the city the option for the easy way out and should have suggested the only proper way to deal with this site is a complete professional excavation."

SCI began their work on July 13 th.

Brenner got a phone call from his ex wife who lives in the Renner house.
She said there was a back hoe digging in the park.

Brenner found a city backhoe opertated by a city public works employee, desperately trying to scrape off the grass.  Having spent years running a hoe, it was obvious to Brenner the city employee had little training. 

There was nothing in SCI's bid that said the city shall perform this work and my hope is SCI  reimbursed the city for that.

Brenner was disgusted by just the obvious damage from the backhoe.  But of course, with the SISG guidelines, mechanical means were okay...........

Brenner met with Steve from SCI where he expressed his opinion on the excavation.  Steve's comments were simple, "This method is what the City chose".  Steve said Brenner was welcome there anytime and would need Brenner's help.   Brenner then left to go home to fire off letters to the media as well as everybody else he knew.

TV new story: http://www.kctv5.com/video/20055455/index.html?taf=kan

The excavation continued as Brenner kept the media campaign up and asked for professional help to attend a meeting July 21 St.  Below are photos taken by Brenner and Kroencke between the 13 TH and 21 St.

PHOTO TAKEN JULY 17 TH.

PHOTO TAKEN JULY 17 TH.  NOTICE THE SHOVEL...........

 

SCI AT WORK ON JULY 17 TH, UNCOVERING TWO FEATURES.  AGAIN, NOTICE THE SHOVEL NEARBY.  ALSO THERE ARE NO GRID LINES IN PLACE.  Below is an existing view of the current playground area and skate board park. ( above photo and below photo courtesy of Professor Michael Fuller)

 

 

The plow zone material (photos courtesy of Professor Michael Fuller)

A council meeting was scheduled for July 21 st.  As Brenner worked to get professionals to the meeting, these additional letters were sent to the city.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

M. Fuller, PHD in Anthropology, (July 15, 09)-snail mail letter

Excerpts:  "....The Renner Site was discovered by J. Mett Shippee and he brought it to the attention of Waldo Wedel (US National Museum) who excavated the site in 1937.  Most of the site was intact when I walked the Renner site with J. Mett Shippe.  I have re-examined some of the 1937 artifacts that are housed in the Smithsonian Institution.

Please reconsider NOT PLACING  the playground equipment in the archaeological site portion of the Renner Brenner Park.  I realize that the city has paid for an archaeological testing ot the site.  Thank you for doing that.  My professional advice is to make no "IMPROVEMENTS" to any portion of the park where archaeological materials are present (in plowzone or subsoil).  If you still go ahead with the improvement, then realize that even the distrubed soild from this week's testing contains important archaeological artifacts that should be sifted and documented."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gary Brenner, July 16, 09- email to Mayor Rose

{editor note:  Although this was a simple email it went straight to the mayor and we know she read it.  Brenner  offered solutions.  It's important to note this would become an important email}

Excerpts:  "..Please release the ban that appears to be in place for anyone to (with the city) to respond to my emails or phone calls.  ...My goal isn't self serving.  My goal is to preserve history. ..the park was never intended to become anything other than a serene educational experience.  Remember when we were kids and went to Line Creek Park (where) there were buffalos, elk, a creek, museum and otherwise a serene place to relax?  [I THINK BRENNER GOT HER ON THAT ONE which you'll read at the August  5 th meeting below]What happened to that?  Now theres a train, a skating rink and all evidence of archaeology has been swept under the table (by Kansas City, except for the NCIAC).  Is this really the road you want to take the City on?  If SCI is any type of professional organization, they won't recommend that.  The right thing to do is to move the skate board park where it can me monitored and move the playground, shelter, bathrooms and all that to the lower terrace.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 17 TH, 09- snail mail letter to David Blackburn, City Administrator, from the Professional Archaeologists of Kansas (PAC)

Excerpts:  The Renner site was originally excavated by nationally known archaeologists, such as J. Mett Shippee and Waldo Wedel of the U.S. National Museum (Smithsonian Institution).  Their studies resulted in defining the prehistoric Kansas City Hopewell occupation in Kansas and Missouri.  Kansas City Hopewell culture is still not very well known and will only be fully understood through detailed professional archaeological study.  The Renner Site....is one of the few....that promises to significantly enhance our understanding of these prehistoric inhabitants through protection and careful study.  It is nationally significant for the cultural and scientific information it contains. .........It is my understanding that the park was originally purchased with the goal of protecting the archaeological site and provide and experience for visitors to appreciate the site where people where people lived so long ago.  There are very few places in the country that are designed for such enlightening experiences.

We recognize the City has attempted to do the right thing by hiring archaeological consultants, however, we must emphasize that the obligation to protect the site in an appropriate way rests with the City, not its archaeological consultants.

A major deficiency of the current scope of work is a failure to address how archaeological features would be treated, if found.  The current plans that we have seen clearly do not answer either of these questions and we feel they do not fulfill the City's civic responsibilities.

I urge you to immediately stop work on this project and consult with the Missouri State Preservation Office on an appropriate means of proceeding.

Bob Blasing, President, Professional Archaeologists of Kansas

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The July 21 ST, City Council Meeting.

A regular meeting of the council was held, July 21 ST at city hall.  This meeting was about half way through SCI's ongoing project.  You can read the minutes from the meeting here: (if they didn't remove them)

http://www.riversidemo.com/publicArchive/cityCouncil/2009-07-21_city_council_minutes.pdf

Dr. Fuller and his wife, along with Jim Feagins gave powerful statements, as professionals on not only what this city is doing, but how to save face and make the best of this ordeal.  I would make an impact.

Michael Fuller, resident of St. Louis, Mo. and Professor of Anthropology and Archeology at St. Louis Community College said the Renner Brenner Park (historical Hopewell Indian site) is a significant piece of American History. Professor Fuller said he actually examined some of the artifacts that were taken from this site in 1937 and that are stored at the Smithsonian Institution. Professor Fuller encourages the City officials to abandon the plan to build playground equipment on this site.

Mrs. Fuller, Instructor of Anthropology at St. Louis Community College also asked the City officials to abandon the plan to build playground equipment at this site as she feels this would be an inappropriate use of this site.

Chris Brenner, 3009 NW Vivion Road asked the board to stop all excavation at the Renner-Brenner Park. Chris asked that the skateboard park to be eliminated and build the children's playground elsewhere. Chris feels this is an educational park and says national attention is on its way if the plan to move the playground equipment on the upper area of the park isn't stopped.

Jim Feagins, President of the Missouri archeological Society said once the site is disturbed by heavy equipment such as a bulldozer, the site is essentially gone. It is mandatory what is disturbed is studied appropriately, properly and thoroughly. The President of the American Archeological Society is very concerned what happens to the site and the artifacts to be properly stored, cataloged and published. All kinds of analysis,appropriately, properly and thoroughly. The President of the American Archeological Society is very concerned what happens to the site and the artifacts to be properly stored, cataloged and published. All kinds of analysis. should be done including flotation on seeds studied and recorded. It's a tremendous opportunity to have this site for families to walk through, read the signs and visualize how these people lived.

 Mike Smith, 3009 NW Vivion Road said he finds it unbelievable that the kids at the skateboard park are doing things they shouldn't be and Public Safety doesn't respond to the calls a lot or it takes them 30 minutes to an hour because something more important is taken care of. Mr. Smith thinks the playground equipment is being moved to the upper area of the park to get the children away from the skateboarders. Mr. Smith thinks the park should be closed now with the construction going on because the only ones using it now are the skateboarders. He also believes the skateboard park should be removed from the park.

Mary Smith, 3009 NW Vivion Road said she “echoes” all that Mr. Smith said and believes the skateboarders are the problem and would like everything left as it is only move the skateboard park moved to the other side of Vivion Road where Public Safety can watch the skateboarders.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It should be noted for history, that while the project was ongoing at the site, that at the same time the city was widening Vivion Road.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith's property became the only access to the park and their property suffered severe damage due to construction and heavy equipment.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Dr. Juiet E. Morrow, Station Archaeologist, ASU, Associate Professor - U of A...  7/24/09

Excerpts.  Backhoe stripping should NEVER be used on a site like Renner.  It is a most inappropriate method for almost anything.......I don't care who is doing the work, it should have never been done.  The appropriate field methods must be done on a case by case basis.  The proposed project area should have been remotely sensed using a quick method such as Gradimetry....before any shovel or machines hit the ground.  The methods in this case were akin to a surgeon using an axe to to a hear transplant.  Revision of the Missouri state standards for conducting archaeological surveys, testing and excavation are clearly needed at this time.  ... This case confirms that we need a state archaeologist in Missoui..someone who would be the state's strongest advocate for significant  advocate for significant sites that are quickly disapperaing, despite laws in place to protect them.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THEN THE MAJOR EMAIL FROM A COUNCILMAN,  sent to Brenner, where the site might still be saved.  (August 4 TH)

These are minutes from a park board meeting held about the first week of August forwarded by the councilman on August 4th.

Mike Duffy gave the Park Board an update on Renner Brenner Park. He explained that the architect was done with the work in the park. The next phase will consist with the evaluation of the findings in the lab. Over 1,000 artifacts were collected from the area that was excavated. The depth of the excavation ranged from 12 inches to 3 feet. The City plans to catalogue the artifacts and is looking into other collections that contain artifacts from this area that are not being displayed and would like to do some sort of display.



Mike Duffy said that he met with the company that will be installing the new playground equipment and they said that it would be possible to pour a concrete slab and mount the equipment to it and that would require less digging on the site.



Julie Rule commented that when we began planning for the playground and met with Gary Brenner we had presented the two options and Gary Brenner said that the preferred method would be to have the individual holes dug to mount the playground equipment.



Mike Duffy presented another option to the Board. He said that the playground equipment could be installed on the concrete slab where the sake park is currently located. The shelter house and bathrooms could be moved to the lower level of the park and the top area where the excavation took place would remain open space. The skate park would then be moved to a location off of West Platte Road.

Julie Rule commented that this location was discussed in the past for a possible location of the skate park, but it did not have restroom facilities, water or parking and security was and issue.

Mayor Kath Rose said that because of the new road construction there would be parking.


Mike Duffy said that the Levee District is agreeable to locating the skate park there and that Public Safety would like it to be moved, because it would help them with security. Duffy suggested that we map out the proposed locations, so the Board can take and look and will discuss this at a later meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 4-5 th, 2009.

(NOTE:  Brenner was not aware of the fact the council had met the night before and no one at the meeting revealed the results of that meeting from the night before.)

Here is the actual minutes from August 4 th.

This paragraph is about the removal of the old union hall across from the fire station where it appears the City is thinking of a museum.

The bid documents are being “wrapped up” and advertising will be out for about 6 weeks on design build. The tenants will out of the building by August 28th.
The bids are due in October 2nd and the contract will be presented to the board October 20th. Public Safety is doing some training (ATF) evaluations at the building, fire and arson investigations. Demolition and site work will begin in 2 weeks and take approximately thirty days. The availability date is May 31, 2010.
Use and space will be discussed. Possibly, the archaeological collections can be stored in the building and this will be discussed with the Park Board. Building maintenance, management and other items will be added as they come up and other ideas will be brought to the board.
Mayor Rose said she had the conceptual drawings and showed them to the people as they came to vote at the polls on Tuesday and they were very excited with the drawing. Alderman Fuller said they should visit some places to decide all that is wanted in the new building.

Later in the meeting the status with SCI was discussed.

The investigation on the archaeological site is complete. It is now being secured with fencing and gravel placed to fill in the holes. Steve Dasovich, Chief Archaeologist will provide a proposal for work on 3 phases, washing and sorting the material, cataloging and then it will be decided how to proceed onto phase 2 laboratory analysis carbon 14 dating on the pottery and trying to tell a story on the artifacts found. The 3rd phase is an analysis of other collections excavated from the past and Mr. Dasovich will be asked to give a presentation on Phase 2.

The next morning, Brenner met with city officials with no knowledge of what had happend at the meeting the night before.

At the August 5th meeting,  with Gary Brenner, Riverside Mayor Kathy Rose, Mike Duffy, Director of Community Development, and City Administrator, David Blackburn. Mayor Rose reflected on fond memories of being at Line Creek Park, seeing the buffalo and feeling the experience of history and the museum. This meeting was held August 5th, and excerpts are below.

Brenner said,  "I just kind of sat there in amazement with the same memories as if I shouldn't have to say anything.. He said, "It's funny how you leave a meeting like that and start thinking about all the things you could have said. I should have asked how she would have felt if Kansas City would have torn down the fence over the old KU excavation and built a 5,400 square foot playground on top of it".

LINE CREEK MUSEUM ABOUT 1976 

LINE CREEK PARK NEAR THE CREEK. CIRCA 1976  (DO YOU SEE A PLAYGROUND IN HERE?) [PHOTOS COURTESY OF MICHAEL FULLER)

METT SHIPPEE STANDING BY THE OLD KU EXCAVATION CIRCA, 1976, photo from Michael Fuller.
Brenner said the Mayor's mind set was more the midset of development and education, "look what they did with it! They have the ice skating rink and the miniature train and we'll have a trail that connects our park to theirs. We have a skateboard park which has been the greatest place for our inner city kids.......they can skate, play and have fun. Sure they have mouths and use foul language and that's one of the reasons we need to move the playground. They have the ice skating rink and the miniature train and we'll have a trail that connects our park to theirs".


Duffy made a remark that left Brenner confused. According to Brenner, Duffy said there had never been a professional excavation of the Renner Site. From comments found on the City webiste, it is believed what he meant to say was that there had never been a professional excavation commissioned by the City. It was apparent to Brenner that Mr. Duffy had absolutely no clue as to the previous knowledge of the Site (which was understandable), although he said Mr. Duffy's remarks during the July 21 ST city council meeting from Dr. Michael Fuller and Jim Feagins, made an impact to the council.

Here are known professional publications about the Renner Site to date:

Brenner, Gary David

     1986 Recent Escavations at the Renner Village Site.  The Kansas City Archaeologist, Special bulletin 1:33-53

     1990a Excavations at the Renner Site---1985 and 1986. The Kansas City Archaeologist, Special Bulletin 2: 51-67

     1990b Renner Village Site Monument. The Kansas City Archaeologist, Special Bulletin 2:91-93

     2009 Renner-Brenner Site Park.  From a portion of website.  http: garybrenner.com

Johnson, Alfred E.

     1976 Hopewellian Archaeology in the Lower Missouri River Valley. Publications in Anthropology 8:7-15, Universitey of Kansas, Lawrence.

Roedl, Leo J. and James H. Howard

     1957 Archaeological Investigations at the Renner Site.  The Missouri Archaeologist 19(1-2):53-90

Shippee, J. Met

     1967 Archaeological Remains in the Area of Kansas City: The Woodland Period, Middle and Late. Missouri Archaeological Society Research  Series, No.5

Slattery, Richard G.

     1992 Diary of the 1937 Smithsonian Excavation at the Renner Site. The Kansas City Archaeologist, Special Bulletin 3:77-90

Wedel, Waldo R.

     1943 Archaeological Investigations in Platte and Clay Counties, Missouri, United States National Museum Bulletin, No. 183, Washington, D.C. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 30 TH. 3:30 PM

Today there is still no playground and it appears the city is rethinking what to do.  It's been almost exactly 30 days since the SCI excavation ended and except for a construction fence around the area, nothing has changed.  The city is to fill the uncompleted excavation area with gravel soon. At the August 5th meeting Brenner had with the mayor, she asked him to provide all paperwork and any other information SCI might ask to complete their project and Brenner said he would.  As of this date, Brenner has heard nothing from SCI.   SCI had also promised Brenner to be updated on all work and except for one phone call around July 21 st, has heard nothing since.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 2 ND. 2:32 PM.

Lots of news....  Brenner was at the site today and saw a city bobcat backfilling the excavation with the top soil that had been promised to be saved at a safe location for sifting later.     Brenner immediately called Mr. Duffy and Mr. Blackburn whom both were "unavailable".  Tonight is a city council meeting where the park is on the agenda. 

Brenner then called the public works department and their instructions were to fill the excavated areas with gravel and backfill with the plow zone dirt.  They did fill gravel in the lower excavated areas and dirt in minor portion before they were ordered to stop.

At 2:33 Pm, Brenner was told by the public works department that there would be no playground.

Brenner received this email from a councilmember.

The Parks Board will be walking the park tomorrow, and will be planning on making a recommendation at that time to the Board of Aldermen on how to proceed.  A couple of my neighbors are on the board, so I'll see what I can find out from that meeting in the next few days.  As part of tomorrow's meeting, the parks board will be walking the park.

We also viewed a drawing tonight of what it would look like if the new playground was installed where the skate park currently sits. 

Additionally, Mike Duffy informed me he has received a proposal from SCI only recently, and has not had a chance to go through it.  He'll be bringing it forward to a subsequent Board meeting after he has digested the contents.

Thanks,
Aaron

After several attempts to get in touch with Duffy, Brenner emailed SCI to see if they would send the report email to Brenner.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 4 TH. 1:57 PM.

Still waiting word on the park boards recommendation. Nothing from SCI. Brenner has emails awaiting to be answered and phone calls to SCI.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SEPTEMBER 9 TH. 3:O0 PM.

Brenner received this email from a city councilman.

Gary,

I got an update on this last night.  The parks board voted to recommend the original proposal and placement of the playground equipment.  I was a bit disappointed by this.  The recommendation will be brought to one of the upcoming Board of Aldermen meetings.  It is just a recommendation and the Board gets to make the final decision on this.

I still like the alternate proposal, as it solves multiple problems, and seems to have the best chance at making everybody happy.  I will be sure to speak to this viewpoint when it comes to the board in open session.  As well, I get the impression that city staff are in favor of the alternate proposal.

Thanks,
Aaron

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 11, 2009

Brenner received this email from Thatcher.

Gary,

I agree with you.  If Mike and the Chief don't offer their opinion, I'll make sure I seek it from them when we next discuss this issue.

Thanks,
Aaron

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 14 th, 2009

Brenner has asked for a story on the RS from National Geographic back in May and received this answer September 14 th.

Thank you for contacting the National Geographic Society.  I am sorry for our delay in responding.

As a private, non-profit educational institution, the Society is restricted from attempts to influence legislation.  I am sorry we cannot be of service in your efforts to save the Renner-Brenner Site from further development.  

You might contact the Land Trust Alliance, an organization that can help people who want to preserve small pieces of land, called land trusts, which offer protection from development, among other things.  Land Trust Alliance is located at:

1319 F Street NW
Suite 501
Washington DC  20004-1106
Tel. 1-202-638-4725
website:  www.lta.org

I hope this information will be helpful.

Sincerely,
Julie Crain
National Geographic Society 
  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SEPTEMBER 15 TH, 2009

From councilman Thatcher.

Gary,
 
I have an update on the Renner Brenner Playground.  It was voted on this evening to place the playground above...the vote was:  Super (Yes), Cope (No), Fuller (Yes), Hurt (Yes), Bruns (Yes) and Thatcher (No).
From councilman Cope.
Gary,

The board voted tonight on the playground equipment.  I asked the Chief, and he did speak in favor of moving the skate park.  I also spoke for several minutes on the side of the alternative proposal.  However, the Board voted to move forward with the existing proposal as recommended by the Park Board.  The vote was 4-2.

I know this isn't the outcome you were hoping for, but I wanted to provide you with the update.

Thanks,
Aaron

Brenners answer to both: 


Aaron,
    I thank you and Brad for your vote and support and total understanding of the situation.  I was hoping the Chief would have more pull from a public safety standpoint. 
    Has there been any further updates or news regarding SCI?  I would be interested in the basics of whatever the report was they sent a couple of weeks ago.
    Thanks,
Gary
From Professior Fuller:
Idiots.

best wishes. Michael

From Jim Feagins, past presidet of MAS

Gary,  This is Disappointing!  This has and will give the city of Riverside a black eye!  This wonderful site has been very poorly treated by the "city fathers" for the last several decades.  Most (but not all) do not appreciate what they have.  Now lets hope the city fully funds  the archaeological analysis and then funds the report (the best options presented by SCI).  Then for the sake of archaeological research lets hope that, from this point, SCI follows through with an excellent job.  Especially after all this controversy, I am sure that many in the archaeological community will want to read a copy of their final report!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Judith Deel, Missouri State Preservation Office.

Judith Deel wrote:  

Oh, good grief.  I thought the city had settled on moving the playground!

Might be a thought to see about nominating the site to Missouri's Most Endangered, which is published by Missouri Preservation.  The web link is:

http://www.preservemo.org/

The annual conference is in Independence this year, altho I've got to warn you, these folks are really focussed in on the historic tax credits.  They do, tho try to at least make a nod toward archaeology.

Judith Deel
State Historic Preservation Office
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573/751-7862
judith.deel@dnr.mo.gov

From Lyle Sparkman, President of the Missouri Archaeological Society.

Gary,
 
Considering your personal stake in this park, I think it appropriate that you have the honor of taking Judith's suggestion and making the nomination for Missouri's Most Endangered.  After making the nomination, I recommend informing the local news media of the nomination and the reason why. 
 
Lyle

From Julie Morrow, MAS

Jim and Gary,

I know I will be interested in reading what they (SCI) conclude
Anyone following this is going to want to read the final report.
I am sorry that the city council voted the way they did
but Gary, you can't take it personally.

It would be really great if someone (Gary?) could give a slide presentation at the Spring MAS meeting about this fiasco, maybe someone from SCI could also give a presentation about the archaeological work they did? Seems like there are lessons that could be learned.

Julie

From Professor Fuller;

Hi Gary,

I have added Renner to about a half dozen deep scars that I have gotten over the years trying to protect sites in Missouri and Middle East.

You are my hero. At least something will come out of the data recovery done by SCI. Yes, not ideal, but something.

I may be in KC on Sunday for a couple of hours and might give you a call.

best wishes. Michael

From Gary Kronecke

How freaking sad- the have just ruined the park for good- the skate boarders will now have the skate board park,The shelter and now the playground to control and tear up – sorry Gary –you did your best. I just hope I’m wrong     And it’s not going to be that bad . it’s just hard to stop these political “Jack offs” that think they are bettering the Community by putting a playground in the middle of an PRESERVED ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE- I don’t understand it At all.

Gary

Brenner to the City council:
Brenner asked the council member to find out how to appeal the decision.
From councilman Thatcher:
Gary,

I am certainly not the right person to advise on the legal options.  I don't know what options there would be, unless enough Aldermen changed their mind to reverse the vote.

Thanks,
Aaron
Back to councilman Thatcher:
 
Aaron,
    I believe it costs nothing for you to ask the city attorney.  Even with not this case, it would be good to know.  Would you please do me a favor and ask the city attorney how to appeal?
Gary
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aaron,
    What are the legal options to repeal that vote?  There has to be a legal way.  I could have easily filled that courtroom full of people, but I didn't.  And, I should have.
    Tell me how to do it and I'll do it..........  I can't live with this scar the rest of my life with my family name.....
G
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SEPTEMBER 22 ND,
Brenner fired off this letter to the City.
 
Honorable Mayor, council member and city staff,
 
RE:  In regards to the council decision to move the playground to the excavated area.
 
    Of course I'm devastated the council not only went against the Chief of police, but the many professional archaeologist that have appeared before the council since April. 
    It is unfortunate the council went with the park boards decision whose members were not at any of those meetings and had no concept of the rich history the council had learned from the professionals that spoke before the board.  Many of those professionals had driven hundreds of miles just to attend those meetings.
    All I can ask at this point, is not to do any construction to the playground until SCI has provided all they've been asked to do.
    Even though preliminary results may show no human remains, nobody knows that until proper lab work is done.  All it takes is one fragment from a human being to be found, even if it's as small as a pencil led, to stop this. 
    In this case, archaeology is as much a crime investigation as anything.  They are actually the same thing because I strongly believe a crime is being committed against learning about our history and it appears to all the professionals who have been before you, that this is an obvious attempt to hurry up and cover the crime scene.
    It's now fall, winter is closing in and there should be no hurry to plant the playground. 
    I ask you to give SCI the chance to follow through with their results and wait until spring to install the playground if their lab analysis doesn't show any evidence of human remains.
    I simply can not believe in my wildest dreams that four members of the council even remotely thought this was in the best interest of history.....
 
Gary David Brenner
Councilman 1982-86
Planning and Zoning Secretary 1981-1989
Park Board Member 1986-2002
Board of Zoning Adjustment 1982-1987
Founding board member of the Riverside Area Chamber of Commerce
Founding board member of Pride and Progress
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OCTOBER 4 TH.
From Gary...
    "The city has managed to ruin the intent of the gift of the Renner Site on the National Register of Historic Places.  They can do this because they own the property and because of the river boat (Argosy), had no need for federal funding.  The preliminary report from SCI shows no human remains.  That's the only saving grace right now.  So far, I can't get the preliminary report."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 16 TH.
      Brenner noted the playground construction company had begun work.  Gary Kroeneke reported to Brenner it appeard the pile of plow zone material had been placed back in the partially excavated area.  Brenner called Mr. Duffy after hearing this and Mr. Duffy reported the Public Works department had done this by accident and an attempt would be made to retrieve the plow zone pile.  Mr. Duffy also explained to Brenner that the playground plans were in accordance with SCI's excavation, even though SCI has not submitted any report at this time other than where they excavated.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 23 RD.
 
As part of the playground project, Riverside has enlarged the parking area at the Renner Site which now extends to where the old playground was which doubled the old size of the lot.  On this part of the project, there was no 'digging'.  The contractor brought dirt in.
The city removed the stage and seating area and this was done with heavy equipment.  This amphitheater had been built over the old 9 hi way road bed and doubt the removal caused much damage.
Two Riverside councilmen have kept me informed on what's going on and these were the two that voted 'no' on the playground project.  Last Friday I emailed them asking for updates and I've copied and pasted their updates below.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary,

Here is the latest:


The playground installation will begin once the parking lot expansion for the park is complete.  That should be done later this week into early next week dependent upon the weather. 

SCI continues to progress under their contract.  They have completed the inventory of all items and are currently sending materials out for carbon dating.  We should begin getting some results back later in December or just after the first of the year.  They are also coordinating with the playground installer to ensure that the equipment siting is consistent with their findings in the field.

Thanks,
Aaron
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - -  - - -  - - - - -  - - - - -
 
SCI completed their inventory but haven't received the materials back from carbon dating.  Maybe the first of next year...they are also working with the playground installers to make sure their equipment is sitting in the proper location.  The installation of this will begin once the parking lot expansion is completed.

-Brad
___________________________________________________________________________
 
I did ask both to forward any paperwork they may have received from SCI.
FEBRUARY 24 TH...2011......DESTRUCTION CONTINUES
The City has demolished the shelter house and the gazebo I built 25 years ago.  It was personally devastating..
_______________________________________________________________________________________
As of about January 1 st of 2011, Don Booth and I have become very close friends.  Kinda= if you can't beat em' then join em', thing.  But, I found Don's heart to be in the right place and over the last year we've met, shared information and I've otherwise made every attempt to do everything I can to help him complete this project.  I honestly think Riverside has totally forgotten about this, but I haven't and I applaud Don for his continued exellent work.
 
Gary Brenner