2006-12-18 / Front Page

Veterans park construction could begin in the spring

By TARA JENNINGS Ledger Staff Writer tara@gaffneyledger.com

The Cherokee County Veterans Appreciation Park may begin to take shape as early as next Spring thanks to a $200,000 grant from the state’s competitive grants program.

The Cherokee County Veterans Day Organization recently learned it received the grant, which is administered by the state Budget and Control Board.

“I really want to express our gratitude to (state Rep.) Olin Phillips for being behind us in getting this money,” said Brooks Allison, co-chair of the veterans organization. “The people of Cherokee County need to know that Olin Phillips really pushed for us on getting this grant. We were fortunate to get what we did.”

Allison estimates that the Veterans Appreciation Park, which will honor about 10,000 Cherokee County veterans, will cost between $300,000 and $325,000. With the grant and money raised by local donations and the sale of merchandise like T-shirts, hats and booklets, the veterans day organization has raised more than $225,000.

Allison said the group has raised enough funds to build the foundation at the site. He said the group will apply for additional grants and continue its fundraising efforts. Organizers are also hoping to have some of the work donated.

The model features walkways with walls engraved with the names of all Cherokee County veterans who have been honorably discharged. Those names will be provided by the Veteran’s Association. Park benches have already been donated.

Flags will be flown at the park representing all branches of the military.

The park is being designed so it fits in with the Cherokee County Veterans Museum, which contains memorabilia donated by the families of local veterans who have served in wars from the American Revolutionary War to the present war in Iraq.

The park will be located adjacent to the Cherokee County Veterans Museum and Irene Park at the site of the former Gaffney Fire Department substation on Montgomery Street in Gaffney. The City of Gaffney has agreed to lease the land to the organization and raze the substation building currently on the property.

Donations can be made to the Cherokee County Veterans Day Organization, P.O. Box 1522, Gaffney, S.C., 29342. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the organization or with questions about the proposed park or the parade can call VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Linda Brown at (864) 489-7973; or (864) 490-1040.

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