Dedicated in 2004, Veteran's Memorial Park in Beaver Dam has become a significant way to honor the men and women who have served the United States through the military.
The memorial park at Oakwood Cemetery on Highway 33 just east of Beaver Dam includes walls with the names of those who have served and provides a backdrop for the annual Memorial Day ceremonies. But those walls are nearly full and a committee has spent more than six months deciding the next step.
Soon, they will launch a fund-raising effort to cover the costs of an expansion that will not only provide space for more name blocks, but also add some features, increase the park's visibility and prepare the park for the future.
"What we wanted to do is maintain the theme that the original committee created," said David Noe, project manager for the expansion of the Veteran's Memorial Park. "We're also planning for the future."
The park now includes walls with space for naming blocks, stone benches, sidewalks that provide access around the walls and to the central open space where ceremonies are held as well as two flagpoles, lighting and other features including landscaping.
The expansion plan calls for the installation of a new identifying wall to the north of the park. It will be closer to Highway 33 and make the park more visible. The new wall as well as the existing indentifying wall will have space for up to 288 more names. Additional space could eventually be made available on existing walls, Noe said.
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The next part of the project calls for the addition of six flag poles to represent the six branches of the military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines). There also will be tiles to honor veteran's organizations and their auxiliaries.
Finally, the plans call for the installation of a heart-shaped sidewalk around the memorials.
Currently, Noe said he is in the process of soliciting bids for the project. Bids must be postmarked no later than midnight May 12. Those who want more information may contact Noe at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a $10 non-returnable fee and a bid packet request of Veteran's Memorial Park, David Noe, PO Box 97, Beaver Dam, WI 53916.
The original park construction included a great deal of donated labor and material and Noe said the committee hopes to have similar community support for the expansion. Groups who would like to learn more about the project or how to support it may contact Noe to arrange a presentation.