MACEDONIA -- Chaplain Tom O'Brien of American Legion Post 801 believes it is "always important to recognize our veterans for their service to their country."
"People who put on the uniform are special and deserve to be remembered in a memorial-type setting," he said.
That setting is being planned, and organizers hope a monument and three flag poles will be in place at Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Route 82 and South Bedford Road in Macedonia by Memorial Day.
A key element for that to happen is the sale of bricks and benches to help pay for the additions to the park. Veterans from VFW Post 6768 and American Legion Post 801 are helping with the volunteer effort.
Bricks with names inscribed range in price from $100 to $500 while 6-foot, post-consumer plastic benches with a brass plate inscriptions of an individual, company or organization are $3,500. Picnic tables are $4,000, and monetary donations can also be made.
For more information, go to the website at nordoniahillsveteransmemorialpark.com.
O'Brien said the total cost of the memorial is about $350,000. He said so far about $35,000 has been raised.
"We hope to have enough money raised by mid-April so we can get the memorial for the Memorial Day ceremony," he said, adding they need another $15,000 for that to occur. "There's a possibility we'll miss that goal, but we're working hard to get there."
Mayor Joe Migliorini said he encourages people to buy bricks, especially if they have someone who served in the Armed Forces.
"There is a big push to get out into the community -- not just Macedonia, but also surrounding communities -- to get a brick with a loved one's name on it," he said.
O'Brien said the city does not have the memorial yet.
"We have talked to several memorial builders," he said. "We'll go with one of those. It doesn't take long to build one."
Some items are already at the site.
"Obviously, we have the gazebo," Migliorini said. "We have a cannon on wheels and another cannon that is on a base."
The memorial and flag poles will be in the northwest corner of the park along with a brick paver plaza. Two cannons will flank the gazebo. South of those will be picnic tables and parking spaces.
"There will be paths leading throughout the site that will tell a story of different times and wars," Migliorini said. "It's really going to be cool.
"They want to put up pillars by the monument with a crest, of sorts, that goes over the top," he said. "Eventually, they want to put in restrooms. The park will be used by a lot of people."
In addition, there will be up to a dozen smaller memorials with a short history of each of the major conflicts since the Revolutionary War, and the memorial from World War I will be returned to the park. Handicapped accessible picnic tables and benches will be placed throughout the park along the walkways.
Organizers are hoping to have the final phase completed by Memorial Day, 2018.
"It will take time to get it all done -- getting all the pavers and concrete in place," the mayor said. "This year, I believe we'll have a good dent in the layout."
Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that the benches will be constructed of post-consumer plastic. The original version stated the benches would be made of granite.