Vets Memorial to get makeover

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Mower County Veterans Memorial on Main Street is moving ahead with a makeover.

The county board granted approval Tuesday to the Mower County Veterans War Memorial Committee to replace the fountain with a statue and add bricks commemorating individual veterans — the first substantial renovations to the memorial since its 1992 dedication.

The bronze statue, scheduled for completion by Veterans Day, Nov. 11, will depict an injured soldier being helped by another, and it was part of original plans for the memorial, though it never got completed.

Email newsletter signup

Jeff Anderson, a committee member, said it’s nice to see the remodel going forward.

“This is an uncompleted project,” he said of the current memorial. “We need to get it done.”

The life-size statue is expected to cost about $140,000, but the committee hopes to pay for that — and then some — with money raised from commemorative pavers.

The special bricks will allow veterans, or friends and family of veterans, to leave a legacy along the memorial’s walkways. For $300, a veteran can get his or her name etched, as well as details of service. The committee will be kicking off brick sales with a booth at Freedom Fest July 3 and 4.

The committee is looking to sell 1,056 of these, which would bring in enough to pay for the statue and set up an endowment fund through the Austin Area Foundation to pay for future projects and goals. Public dollars are not slated to go toward the memorial renovation.

Committee member Norman Hecimovich said it’s important to have a space to honor veterans, especially with conflicts ongoing throughout the world.

“There are so many veterans coming out of the service all the time who might want to leave a legacy,” he said.

Along with these plans, the committee said a few names will be added to the memorial wall, which remembers those who died in service. A sidewalk extension might also be added behind the wall.

Bill Fuller, who was an original member of the memorial committee when plans first got going in the 1980s, said renovations were a long time coming.

“We’re letting history continue itself,” he said.