City, veterans planning park renovations
by Emily McLain
Jan 14, 2014 | 733 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SYLACAUGA - The city, along with the help of local veterans groups, is seeking to revive and expand its monument to those who have served the country.

Several veterans met with Mayor Doug Murphree, Parks and Recreation director Jim Armstrong and city clerk Patricia Carden on Tuesday to discuss plans to construct a new memorial at Pinecrest-Veterans Park, next to Pinecrest Elementary School off U.S. 280.

The group, which includes Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 945, American Legion Post 45 and the Bill Nichols chapter of the Disabled Veterans of America, has been in talks for several months already about their intended upgrades.

The biggest project entails building an octagon-shaped memorial wall on which name plaques representing veterans from each military branch will be displayed.

To fit that structure and increase visibility of the monument from U.S. 280, tentative plans include cutting down roughly 20 trees inside the 50-plus-year-old park’s walking track.

The first step, though, is getting an architectural drawing of what the park will look like so the groups can begin fundraising, Armstrong said.

“It’s easier to sell an idea when you have an actual sketch of what you’re doing,” he said.

Armstrong’s vision for the eight-walled monument includes room to add more walls around the sides, he said.

Plans also include placing a helicopter at the park. The city has been on the “wish list” to receive a Huey helicopter from the U.S. Army since 2008, said veteran Joe Teel Jr.

Veterans would also like to see a marble sculpture at the park eventually. Armstrong said they can always add on in phases, as funding allows, once the initial memorial wall is in place.

The group plans to reach out to an architect soon to complete a drawing, and then it will begin a fundraising campaign with local industries, civic groups, churches and others to start.

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