The Bernegger River Walk is no longer a preferred site for the future veterans’ memorial in New London.
On March 3, New London Parks and Recreation committee members received an update from Jim Jaeger, secretary of the New London Veterans’ Memorial Foundation.
Park Director Chad Hoerth informed the committee that he contacted Digger’s Hotline to conduct a utility locate on the property earmarked for the future memorial. He and members from the foundation toured the property afterward.
Underground utilities are a concern
Jaeger said, “There is just a ton of utilities underneath that thing. We’re kind of concerned about putting anything on top of that, because if you put a memorial there it could be dug up a few years down the road.”
He reported that members of the foundation wondered if the city would allow the memorial to be moved approximately 80 feet to the west to avoid the underground utilities.
Mayor Gary Henke noted that the whole area (west of the park) was up for future development. He also noted that eventually parking and access to the site could become limited depending what is developed on the property south and west of the river walk.
Committee members asked Jaeger if the foundation members discussed alternative sites.
Jaeger listed several alternatives in order of preference starting with Taft Park, Franklin Park and Floral Hill Cemetery. When asked if the group had any interest in the property located on the corner of Beacon and Mill Streets, Jaeger said it didn’t even make the top five list among members.
They had some concerns regarding what could be underneath the property that once housed a gas station. The owner is willing to donate the property in lieu of property taxes.
“There’s probably more parking immediate parking there than at Taft Park,” said Henke.
Jaeger asked about the vent pipe located in the property.
“We can find out what we can and can’t do and see if there are any limitations on the property,” said Henke.
Alderman Bob Besaw asked if the group would have enough room if they put the Memorial in Taft Park. Jaeger said they would choose a design that would fit the location.
Alderwoman Lori Dean said if they did choose Taft Park, she would like to see the other memorial in town moved there to incorporate them together in one site.
Currently there is a Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial located in Memorial Park.
The committee agreed the veterans’ memorial discussion would be placed on next month’s agenda for updates.
Jaeger reported that donations are coming in for the memorial. Previously a donation of $1,000 was received from a local business. Area veterans’ groups have also pledged funds.
Donations can be sent to New London Veterans Memorial Foundation Fund, E8428 Ebert Road, New London.
The memorial foundation group is comprised of members of the V.F.W. American Legion, AMVETS and DAV. They meet on the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the VFW Clubhouse.