The New London Parks and Recreation Committee unanimously approved the Bernegger River Walk as the future site for a New London Veterans’ Memorial at its Tuesday, Feb. 3 meeting.
Jim Jaeger, secretary of the New London Veterans’ Memorial Foundation presented the location to the committee.
Jaeger reported that members of the foundation have been discussing potential sites since October. Recently they narrowed their search down to four sites including the Bernegger River Walk, Taft Park, Franklin Park and Floral Hill Cemetery.
The group selected the Bernegger River Walk (the green space where the old “Loss House” was located just east of the State Farm Insurance parking lot) as their preferred site.
“Over twenty members of the group voted on their picks and this one came out on top by a long shot,” said Jaeger.
Parks Committee Chairman Rob Way and other members agreed.
“This is a good site,” said Way.
The site includes adequate parking, as well as close proximity to other improvements including water and electric service.
Parks and Recreation Director Chad Hoerth reported the area includes several underground utilities and would have to be marked by Digger’s Hotline and cleared before construction begins.
Way asked Hoerth if the city had anything else planned for the site in the future.
Hoerth said the adjacent area (former Wolf River Lumber property to the West) is marked for future development; however, there is nothing else designated in the area of the proposed memorial.
“I’ve always wanted to do something there,” said Hoerth. “This would be a nice addition to that location.”
Alderman John Romberg asked Jaeger if the site would influence the design of the memorial.
Jaeger said the foundation focused on site location up to this point, and had not yet gone into design details. He said they have toured numerous other sites in nearby cities and they felt this site would provide enough space for the group to move forward with future design options.
The Veteran’s Memorial Foundation will determine a design plan for the memorial, and return to the Parks and Recreation Committee for approval. The final design will then go to the New London City Council for approval.
The New London Veterans’ Memorial Foundation is holding its first official fundraiser on Saturday, April 4, at Festival Foods. The group is planning a brat and hamburger fry.
The group will operate as a 501c3 organization. It is also accepting charitable donations, and has already received contributions from local veterans’ organizations and an area church.
Donations can be sent to New London Veterans Memorial Foundation Fund, E8428 Ebert Road, New London.
The group comprised of members of the V.F.W., American Legion, AMVETS and D.A.V. invites any veteran and or community member to attend its monthly meetings held at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the New London V.F.W. Clubhouse.
Foundation officers include Chairman Jim Massonet, Vice-chairman Lewis ‘Ed’ Strite, Secretary Jim Jaeger, and Treasurer Terry Warning. Currently there are 25 members attending the monthly meetings.
The group visited several other memorials, and is currently deciding what unique appearance New London’s memorial will have. It will honor all local veterans, living and dead, who have served our country in times of war and peace.