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Veterans memorial Park project may receive state funding

ThisWeek Community Newspapers - 3/8/2018

The city of Upper Arlington and a group behind a plan to build a veterans memorial at Mallway Park are hopeful the project will get a $200,000 boost from the state.

Last month, a citizens group called the Veterans Memorial Committee announced plans to seek a more prominent commemoration at Mallway Park for residents who have served in the nation's military. The site is a roughly 1-acre greenspace at 2096 Arlington Ave. flanked by a business district and Jones Middle School.

Last week, city officials announced they are seeking a $200,000 grant for the project.

"The city submitted a State of Ohio 2018 capital budget application grant request for the Veterans Memorial project," said Emma Speight, Upper Arlington community affairs director. "Subject to the state capital budget's approval, we were informed that this project would receive a $200,000 grant.

"We were pleased to have the support of our state Sen. Stephanie Kunze and state Rep. Jim Hughes."

The Veterans Memorial Committee's project is still in the preliminary concept phase.

Member Erik Yassenoff said last month the committee initially discussed plans to install fencing along the existing park entryway walls, along with fresh landscaping and a possible permanent fixture in the center of the park to honor veterans.

He said they anticipated needing to raise as much as $750,000 -- most, if not all, of it from private donations.

Last week, Yassenoff said even if the state funding is approved, overall costs might come down based on input the committee has received from nearby businesses and residents through meetings and a community survey.

He said the deadline for making suggestions for the memorial was extended to March 16; those suggestions can be submitted through an online survey at tinyurl.com/ybcq9uq5.

"We are definitely still very much in the preliminary stages," Yassenoff said. "The big thing we've heard is that a number of residents would like to see more open space in the project. We also have heard the need for benches and picnic tables."

Once the survey is closed, Upper Arlington City Council is expected to hear a presentation on a more detailed proposal at its April 2 conference session, slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.

Public comment isn't typically taken at conference sessions, but will be accepted at an April 9 regular council meeting, at which time council is expected to adopt a resolution for the project.

"The resident group leading this effort has proposed that funding come from a variety of sources -- grants, private fundraising and city support," Speight said. "For this project to be a success, the city is supportive of assisting with securing alternate funding sources to the greatest extent possible."

Thus far, the city has contributed $7,500 for a design firm to develop a series of renderings for the project, Speight said.

"City Council will review the merits of the proposal and is expected to vote on a resolution to accept the project, subject to the successful procurement of funding, and to direct the city manager to provide the necessary support to facilitate the project's completion," she added. "All timelines are contingent upon council's support of the project and the successful completion of a fundraising campaign."

Yassenoff said the committee is "thrilled" with the amount of public interest expressed so far and appreciates the state's apparent support.

He added the group will announce its fundraising campaign when more design details are finalized.

"Our continued goal is to do this right," he said.




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