A recent donation from a Springfield group is helping Veterans Memorial Park’s progress in 2018.
The overall cost to make improvements at Veterans Memorial Park is an estimated $450,000 and about $380,000 remains to be raised based on contractors.
“The donation makes a huge impact on our fundraising effort and allows us to move the project forward and we are greatly appreciative,” said Brad Boyer, National Trail Parks and Recreation District deputy director. “Continued donations allow us to create a functional gathering place to honor and celebrate those who served.”
The Harley Owners Group Springfield, Ohio Chapter 3872 donated $3,000 to National Trail Parks and Recreation District toward the park, which recognizes local service men and women who served in various wars and conflicts.
Local veterans advocate Randy Ark accepted the donation for National Trail at the group’s meeting on Feb. 11.
“At every dedication I’ve done at the park, a lot of Harley riders have shown up to support,” Ark said. “You are a part of it, a part of Springfield.”
The Harley Owners Group raises funds through its Harpo Claus program, named for former Marine and club member Nick “Harpo” Porter, who served in Vietnam. The program sends care packages to active duty service members and a surplus of funds resulted in this donation.
The group has donated to Honor Flight and food banks previously.
“We support a wide group of organizations,” said Brian Cubbage, a group member who runs Mid-Ohio Harley-Davidson. “You can’t forget the people who allow you to do what you do today.”
Cubbage helps run the group’s biggest fundraiser, Hot Rods and Harleys, each August. It will return downtown this year after two years in Veterans Park.
Money for the Vietnam section of the park, costing more than $30,000, has been completely raised according to Boyer.
A bench donated by Dodds Monuments dedicated to Vietnam casualties of friendly fire will be the next item to be dedicated this spring or summer.
Ark said it will be unique in he’s never seen such a memorial and thinks it will be valuable as a reminder of those who paid the ultimate price.
Lighting installation is projected to be completed by early summer. Donor bricks along a portion of the sidewalk in the main section also will be installed, along with the development of a service branch flags section that will be placed at the corner of Cliff Park Road and Veterans Bridge, Boyer said.
National Trail is offering paver bricks for various prices that will have a personal inscription provided by the purchaser and will be on the walkway through the park. Each paver will have a personal inscription provided by the purchaser.
“Based off of past successful fundraising for this park, we have set an aggressive goal for the project to be completed by the fall of 2020,” Boyer said.
The finished park will be organized into four sections representing four centuries and feature eight black granite blocks representing the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror.
It will also be flexible to add space to honor future veterans.
It will include walkways, flowers, benches and lighting to accommodate visitors, including disabled veterans and families.
“This park will be personal for the citizens of Clark County,” Ark said. “I want this park to be a place where any veteran would be proud to bring their loved ones, a place of beauty, reverence and reflection.”
To donate, purchase a paver or for more information about Veterans Memorial Park, go to https://ntprd.org/veterans-park/.