Veteran’s Memorial Park picks up steam

Funds continue to come in for North St. Paul project

Upon hearing that the North St. Paul Veteran’s Committee has secured $94,009.59 so far in its efforts to build a memorial park in the city, the city council and its audience applauded.

“We’re very pleased to get to this step after 3 1/2 years,” said veteran’s committee member Dan Fisher at the May 20 city council meeting. “A lot of hard work; a lot of salesmanship. At this point, the committee is ready to kick off; this is the last step.”
By that he means that the fund-raising, for the most part, is nearly complete.

So far, the committee has sold 389 individual pavers, which will eventually be installed at the park. The pavers have generated about $38,900 towards the effort. The committee also received $15,109.59 in unrelated donations, not counting the donations at its fundraiser last weekend at the American Legion.

After purchasing some of the pavers, the total amount the committee has in the bank is about $84,000, not counting any bonding or legacy funds.
“This is a reflection of everyone on that board, doing whatever needs to be done to make things work,” said Tom Trost, another member of the committee.
“This is just exciting as heck,” Mayor Mike Kuehn said. “It’s tremendous that we’ll be able to do that. There’s work to be done, but we know that most of the funding has been garnered, but we continue to sell stones.”

A bill requesting $100,000 to help fund the project was introduced this legislative session by state Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, and was folded into an omnibus bill and sent to the Senate floor for consideration. The committee spoke at a Senate hearing, something Fisher said was a “scary” experience. The state funding for the project was approved by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

On the local level, the pavers have served as a big help for the committee’s fundraising efforts. Veteran’s Memorial Park will be located on Margaret Street on land that used to be Cannon Park abutting Highway 36. Pavers are still available and can be purchased by and for anyone. In other words, North St. Paul residents are not the only ones who can get involved in this, Fisher said.
“Many people who have purchased pavers are not even from the community, but have an interest in having their family members remembered,” Kuehn said.

For more information on pavers, contact Joe Zakrzewski, of the American Legion, at 651-773-8526.

Tim Faklis can be reached at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.

 

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