CASPER, Wyo. — A Casper woman says that a proposed 2019 Historic Preservation Plan is racist because it excludes many aspects of the black history of the community.
“This document eliminates the entire black community with the exception of the North Casper Club House,” RC Johnson told the Casper City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
She referred to the document as “one of the most racist things ever planned and developed.”
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Johnson says she brought her concerns to Casper’s Historic Preservation Commission but didn’t see her comments to them incorporated in the document.
The city council will vote by minute action on Tuesday whether to adopt the plan. Johnson took issue with the document possibly getting approved on just one reading without a formal public comment period.
“Nothing in this document reflects the fact that there were African American churches [in Casper],” Johnson said. “It acts as if black people don’t exist and don’t exist in this community.”
Some council members said they’d be open to looking further into the document before approving it.
“You have raised some very important valid things,” Councilman Mike Huber said.
“All I want to say is, ‘We hear you,'” Councilman Ken Bates said.
The council may either table that item from their agenda or vote no following her comments.
Connie Hall with the Casper Historic Preservation Commission said at the meeting that she had spoken with Johnson and would listen to what she has to say.
Councilman Ray Pacheco asked Hall whether she thought the council should move forward with the adoption of the plan on Tuesday.
Hall said she thought it would be appropriate for the council to accept the plan in order that guidelines for historic building facades could be put in place.
Huber asked whether Hall was aware of any project to recognize parts of town that Johnson thought were neglected in the plan.
Hall said that she thought the commission was open to looking into Johnson’s concerns and conducting such a project.
If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:
Mayor Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 577-6042
Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 337-5057
- (307) 277-7377
Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 473-1247
Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 262-8237
Councilman Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 259-1276
Councilman Bob Hopkins (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 472-1837
Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 266-4188
Councilwoman Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 359-3673
Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 258-1226
Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601
If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.