Geneva officials begin planning for expanded war memorial

Authored by Jim Langham on Jan 23, 2013

Geneva officials are in the beginning stages of laying the foundation for an expanded war memorial at the northeast corner of High and Line streets in the city’s downtown. The park will establish additional memorial space for recent war veterans and still incorporate current memorial tributes, including the Gene Stratton Porter Memorial Stone and city time capsule.
Pam Krause, executive director of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, said that she had received initial grant money to employ Eric Schwartz of ES Designs in Geneva to submit drawings for the proposed park. The sketches need to be approved by the park board, said Krause, before being accepted on an official status.
Schwartz estimated that cost of the renovated area could approach $250,000. Krause said that she will be applying for additional grant support for funding. She noted that Geneva Proud, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion would join the Chamber of Commerce in raising local funding for the project.
One such funding event will occur on Feb. 14 when Geneva Proud supports a Sweetheart Supper at the Geneva Community Room in the Geneva Town Hall. The cost of the meal is $10 and will include dinner, dessert, drink and something special for the ladies. All proceeds will go to the War Memorial Renewal Project.
Those wishing to attend the supper are asked to call the town hall at 260-368-7251 by Feb. 12.
“We redid the whole park,” said Schwartz of his proposed design. “There will be a whole new monument and new sidewalks leading up to the new monument. We will incorporate the Gene Stratton Porter Stone, the existing memorial and the time capsule.”
Schwartz said that current war memorials include those involved in wars up through Vietnam. He noted that the new memorial will include all of those involved in the service since that time, with room for future inclusions.
“All of the wars will have their own flags,” said Schwartz. “We will incorporate all of the five flags of the branches of the military and the Prisoner of War flag.”
Schwartz said that the new park plans also call for a large pavilion with picnic tables and expanded space for military exercises and programs associated with military personnel in memorial services.
“This is going to be a great addition to downtown Geneva,” commented Krause, who noted that consideration is also being given to water fountains at the site. “I love the pavilion; people can eat lunches there.”
Krause noted that the pavilion could also serve as seating and shade for memorial services as well as being used for downtown festivals and fundraisers.
“Right now the memorial is kind of hidden there,” said Schwartz. “This will give a focal point on the downtown landscape as people approach downtown.”
Krause added that the park is incorporated in part of the city’s downtown historic section.
“This utilizes green space downtown,” said Clerk/Treasurer Bill Warren. “It is another aspect of our downtown stores. It allows us to recognize and honor our veterans in a very special way. We are in a position where we need to go for this. It will be a great enhancement to the town of Geneva.”
The proposed memorial joins other projects in Geneva including the recently-completed visitor’s center at the Limberlost Memorial State Site and a monument incorporating memorial bricks at the former site of the Geneva School.

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