NEW PALESTINE — It’s been a long 12 years for American Legion Post 182 member Bill McCoy and his fellow veterans. They’ve been trying that long to build a veterans memorial in New Palestine.
After years of searching for a site, officials with the Sugar Creek Township Park agreed to donate a parcel near the entrance of the recreational area at 4161 S. CR 700W for the proposed memorial.
McCoy and American Legion Post 182 member and district commander Ron Ordelheide spoke of the Legion’s plight at a recent luncheon of the New Palestine Chamber of Commerce at the park, where they hoped to gather some momentum for the project.
“It’s going to be a pretty massive type memorial,” McCoy said. “It’s going to be one that is pretty functional as far as serving the community.”
“We’re hoping this will be a nice thing people can use,” Ordelheide said. “We can have concerts and other things there like other communities do.”
While McCoy said organizers have a carpenters union lined up to do most of the labor at no cost, the Legion is still raising funds to get the memorial built as soon as possible.
No target cost has been established.
“It’s going to be quite expensive, so we’ll be looking to the community for assistance in putting this together,” McCoy said.
Ordelheide is hopeful they can get many Hancock County businesses behind the project.
“We have 60 days to present the parks board a detailed program on fundraising, so that is our next step,” Ordelheide said.
The committee to build the memorial has been selling bricks as a way to raise funding. McCoy said his family has already purchased 26 bricks that will be a part of the project.
“We’ve got the whole family all together all the way from the Civil War up to now,” McCoy said.
Tentative plans call for a large, circular structure with a gazebo, war monuments, flags and a wall with military plaques. The centerpiece of the project will be a 16-foot obelisk.
The individual tribute bricks will be laid around the perimeter of the obelisk.
Organizers also want to have an interactive area depicting past wars where people can use their cellphones to activate information regarding the monument.
“There again, that is money, but we’re going to put the wiring in for that,” McCoy said.
Despite not having all the funding in place, Legion officials say they’d love to start construction on the veterans memorial this fall and finish it in phases.
“We are hoping to break ground sometime this year right around the fall festival,” Ordelheide said.
HOW TO HELP:
The American Legion in New Palestine is seeking donations for a veterans memorial in Sugar Creek Township Park. More information is available by calling Dave Espich at (317) 861-6577 or visiting Post 182’s website: newpalpost182.com/welcome.html.