By Christin Ayers

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — For months, it was nothing more than a drawing, a mockup of a 20-foot tall bright blue obelisk. Oakland’s Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District planned to put up the obelisk to welcome people to the neighborhood.

Over the summer, KPIX 5 asked people what they thought of it and got mixed reviews.

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The obelisk’s biggest critic: neighborhood activist Karen Hester. “Honestly, it’s tacky,” Hester said.

After our story ran, the district agreed to put the project on hold. A few months later, the obelisk is here.

“It is a pleasant, welcoming beacon and that’s what we want it to be,” said Don Lowrey of the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District.

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Hester collected more than 200 signatures for a change.org petition opposing the obelisk. That forced the district to hold a public meeting in August. After the hullabaloo that was raised online, seven people showed up. The obelisk went up about a month ago.

“I think the public had a chance to see it and say, that’s really attractive,” Lowrey said.

“It almost made me cry. I was like, oh, wow. This is worse than I thought,” Hester said.

But Hester said there is one silver lining. She believes the uproar that the obelisk caused will force the district to seek more public input next time.

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