Conway residents saddened by coverage of the 9/11 Children’s Tribute

“A lot of veterans see that and connect with that,” a 21-year-old veteran told Conway. “It’s shameful, honestly. I mean, they have so many other options.”

CONWAY, Ark. – Two decades ago, a group of Conway children, with the help of their families, created a 9/11 tribute.

This is a collection of tile artwork honoring those who lost their lives in the American tragedy carved in the brick of the Old Town Hall building.

Now the art is being covered up as part of a new construction project.

“It’s more than just hands on the wall; it’s a memorial honoring the lives lost in 9/11,” Dillynn Boyd said as crews drilled wood over the corners of the art.

Her drawing of a little green hand sits among other colorful children’s drawings.

“I was only one year old. So my mom told me the story, but my sister was four when she made hers, so you know, it’s kind of a family memory where we did this after 9/11, ”Boyd said. .

George Kenner is a 21 year old retired veteran who founded Conway Veterans.

“A lot of things are very patriotic, a lot of veterans see that and connect with that. It’s shameful. Honestly. I mean, they have so many other options,” Kenner said.

The art is being covered up because of a renovation project by Conway Corporation, which bought the building from the city.

In a statement to THV11 News, Conway Corp says:

“The tile installation has been around for over 20 years and the tiles are deteriorating. While we were working with our architect, we considered trying to remove them. However, they fall apart when we try to do anything. either with them, so we made the decision to cover them.

The tiles will be kept in the wall. The joists are placed so that none of the tiles are damaged. We have photographed the tiles and plan to display something telling the story of the building and the mural. “

This project was announced in 2017.

In 2018, Conway Corp entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city to take over the maintenance and management of Conway Town Hall to transform it into the Arnold Innovation Center.

It will include a co-working space, office suites and seminar rooms. Plans for the redesigned facility were presented at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in 2019.

Conway Corp postponed the draft from its 2020 budget to its 2021 budget when the pandemic struck.

“You record it, people can still see it. It just doesn’t match their narrative, unfortunately,” Kenner said.

We spoke with another Conway resident outside the old building, Dr Phillip Fletcher.

“Anytime you cover something up or remove something, a person can feel like they’re not being seen. They’re not recognized,” Fletcher said.

The steel bars across the art tile are a symbol for those who feel the honor of the tribute is imprisoned.

“Hopefully Conway Corp can figure out the meaning of this and come up with some sort of resolution rather than just covering it up, because it’s worth saving,” Boyd said.

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