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Columbia City Veterans Park coming along

Memorial Day dedication is planned

MARK MILLER - Many of the features at the Veterans Park being built in Columbia City have already been installed, including this monument to the uniformed branches (foreground) and Blue Star Memorial Byway marker (background). Work is ongoing at the park.The Veterans Park under construction in north Columbia City is on track for a formal dedication ceremony on Memorial Day, the city administrator and recorder said Wednesday, March 25.

Much of the work on the park has already been done, according to Leahnette Rivers, but the project is ongoing: In the coming weeks, six memorials — one for each branch of the U.S. military, as well as the Merchant Marine — will be added, seed grass will be sown, additional roses will be planted, and more bricks will be engraved.

“It is coming along beautifully,” Rivers said. “It’s really been an exciting project.”

Among the features already installed at the park are locally hand-crafted picnic tables and benches, a monument to all American veterans, three brick walls with the names of veterans engraved on them, a Blue Star Memorial Byway marker, and a set of flagpoles.

“We just installed six new flagpoles, one for each branch of the service flags,” said Rivers.

The park project has been powered by a combination of state grants and donations from the community.

“We’ve probably raised about $28,000 in either cash donations, donated skilled labor ... and donated material values, at this point in time, toward our park,” Rivers said. “And that’s in addition to the two grant awards that we received.”

This weekend, a young volunteer looking to earn his Eagle Scout badge will lead a group to seed the lawn at the park, Rivers said.

The park’s dedication ceremony is expected to be a major event in the community. Rivers said a bagpiper will perform, patriotic music will be played and representatives from each service branch will raise their flags.

A program will soon be available for the ceremony, she added.

The ceremony is currently scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 25.

The Veterans Park was originally set to open last May. However, it was postponed to Memorial Day 2015 in order to allow more time for the second phase of improvements to be made.

Rivers said she expects the city will soon apply for a grant to start on a third phase of construction at the park.