This architect’s rendering from Stelling and Associates shows the plan for an expanded veteran’s memorial in Echo Park in Burlington. (Submitted artwork)

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Editor

The City of Burlington is taking aim at a new beautification project and honoring area veterans at the same time.

Mayor Jeannie Hefty told the Common Council she was taking off her mayor’s hat Tuesday night, and then pitched her plan to expand a yearly Memorial Day tribute into a permanent memorial.

“I’m asking the community to rise on this,” Hefty said. “For veterans who have given their lives.”

Currently, there is a memorial in Echo Park that honors veterans, though without names except for Memorial Day. On that weekend, a bed of crosses bearing the names of deceased local service personnel is placed at the foot of the memorial and a service is held on Memorial Day to honor the fallen.

However, after speaking with various area veterans groups, Hefty said there was a desire to see a more permanent memorial. The idea is to erect four granite walls, and have the names permanently etched on those panels.

The cost is estimated to be between $35,000 and $42,000. Hefty stressed this is not a City of Burlington project, and that donations would have to cover the cost.

“I strongly feel the community will rise to this,” she said.

The Common Council agreed with her, with Alderman Bob Grandi adding that it “sounds like a nice project.” Alderman Todd Bauman asked if any grants would be available, and Alderman Tom Vos wondered if the city could initially fund the project and then be paid back through donations.

Hefty said the VFW is accepting donations under its non-profit status to fund the project.

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