(Above) This model of Clear Lake V.F.W. Post 4868 shows where large slabs of stone will be displayed on the exterior of the building to feature the names of local veterans, living and deceased.-Reporter photo.
“Retreat, hell. We’re advancing in a different direction.”- Gen. Oliver P. Smith, 1st Marine Division
Clear Lake V.F.W. Post 4868 members are marching ahead with their own plan to construct a veterans memorial.
Post Commander Mike Nelson said Tuesday his membership unanimously supports the idea of facing two blank brick walls on the exterior of the post with limestone or some other light colored stone. The featured walls would display the names of local veterans, both living and deceased.
“At our meeting last week I asked for feedback about the veterans memorial and the discussion quickly evolved into a plan which everyone supported,” said Nelson.
Post Adjutant Eldon Vine created a model of a proposed vision for the project. That model will now be shared with Snyder Construction for the development of a specific plan and estimated costs.
A fundraising campaign will hopefully be launched in July.
“This idea had been touched up, but was not in the forefront,” said Vine. “I think it is dignified— and do-able.”
“There have already been so many veterans who have passed that were looking forward to seeing a memorial created in their hometown. It’s time to move on this idea,” added Nelson.
In June 2014 veterans first approached the city with an idea to construct a memorial honoring veterans at the Sea Wall. That idea was turned back by the Parks and Recreation Board, and later the City Council. An eight-member task force was appointed to study the idea, but in April 2015 that group told the Council it could not reach a consensus. In the end, members were split evenly between placing the memorial at the Sea Wall, or at the intersection of Main Avenue and 8th Street. Without a recommendation, Mayor Nelson Crabb said the City Council had no basis for action.
In November 2015 the Council agreed to enter into an agreement with Clear Lake V.F.W. Post 4868 to have RDG Planning and Design, of Des Moines, provide design services for a proposed veterans memorial at the former downtown water tower site. Council members stressed they were not approving the site, but rather supporting creation of a conceptual design which will provide a visual for the amount of space a memorial would occupy.
Nelson and Vine said RDG’s ideas came at an estimated cost of $300,000 to $400,000.
“That got our wheels turning for an alternative,” said Nelson. “We’re charting our own destiny.”