Randy Ark, left, and Roger Warren look over the Marine Corp memorial that Warren and his Maine Corp. brothers dedicated in 1988 at Veteran’s Park. Bill Lackey/Staff

Veterans Memorial Park to receive $400,000 upgrade

A Clark County park is adding a war memorial area that will feature dedications for every major U.S. war.

The National Trail Parks and Recreation District is planning a series of renovations for the Veteran’s Memorial Park and plan to move monuments scattered around the park into a triangular area, running along Buck Creek, which will serve as the location for the new memorial area.

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The $400,000 project will include four sections that will divide the monuments by century and will feature black markers for each war that Clark County has participated in starting with the Revolutionary War and ending with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Each marker will have depictions of Clark County residents who participated in those wars. Park administrators say that they will be soliciting the community for applications for who will be represented on the monuments.

Brad Boyer, deputy director for National Trail, says that project will also include the addition of a common design element that will tie the whole display together, such as a distinct architectural theme and a brick pathway.

Boyer said these monuments will be designed to make park gatherers think about the sacrifices that their fellow citizens experienced and made in these wars.

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“It is extremely important that we have an area in Veteran’s park that provides a space for people to celebrate the sacrifices that people have made for our freedom,” he said.

Ideas for renovations came from members of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart who have worked on the park’s past memorial projects such as the War Dog Memorial and the Dog Tag Memorial that honors the 63 Clark County residents who were killed in the Vietnam War.

The project is in the fundraising stages and an endowment through the Springfield foundation has been set up.

Randy Ark, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, says they are selling engraved bricks that will be used for a pathway that will be located between the monuments.

The bricks come in three sizes and the prices range from $100 to $500 and can have three to eight lines engraved onto them. The bricks and pathway will give people a sense of ownership. “They got somebody down there that they are recognizing,” he said. “They feel like that they are part of the park and that’s what we want.”

Park administrators have said fundraising can be a long process and it might take years before the renovations are completed.

Donations to the park can be made to the Veterans Memorial Park endowment through the Springfield Foundation.

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