Veterans Memorial donations reach halfway mark

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Donations for the new Veterans Memorial in Niles keep pouring in, its organizers say.
Mike Ellis, committee co-chair, said $59,346 has been raised so far, including funds raised through brick sales.
He welcomed another $500 donation on Monday from the the Women's Auxiliary of the Niles American Legion Post 26.
Also Monday night, the Veterans' group accepted a $2,000 donation from the Disabled American Veterans of Niles.
Two large donations from local families, amounting to $25,000 in total, have been "a shot in the arm," for the project, Ellis said.
According to the committee, the memorial will be located in the Riverfront Park just south of the amphitheater and north of the Main Street bridge.
It will be in the shape of a pentagon with a tapered marble column with the five service flags surrounding the column.
And, benches will be placed around the inner area of the pentagon for people to sit on.
Ellis, who received the donation from the auxiliary just before Monday's memorial committee meeting at the Legion's Post 26 , said a ground breaking may take place some time this year.
The ground breaking was among the topics of discussion on the committee's agenda on Monday, he said.
Ellis is glad that fund raising has been going well since it started in May.
There has been some debate, however, as to whether the planned location for the memorial is the best for the city.
Asked whether the committee has taken into consideration suggestions from the community about an alternative placement of the memorial, Ellis said: "As far as we're concerned, the site has been chosen."
He said the city has approved of the planned site and "As far as we're concerned, it's a done deal."
The monument is designed to not become an obstacle for the Riverfront Park's amphitheater and will be surrounded by low plantings, he said.
Those opposed to the planned location of the memorial think putting the veterans memorial at Riverfront Park will crowd the riverfront area.
The monument costs $57,000 and it will take four months from ordering until its ready for delivery.

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