Munroe Falls Park Board hopes to raise funds to restore Veterans Monument

Engraved bricks being sold

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
The Munroe Falls Park Board is raising funds to restore the Veterans Monument outside City Hall.

MUNROE FALLS — Community members are encouraged to help the Munroe Falls Park Board observe Veterans Day, Nov. 11, by purchasing an engraved brick to renovate the Veterans Memorial.

The bricks will replace the walkway under the existing Veterans Memorial at Guise Park. The original structure was built and designed in 1988 by Carl Floyd, a 1989 Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts winner, who is known mostly for environmentally appropriate sculptures meant to be used and admired by the general public.  

A plaque describes the sculpture: “In this memorial, the earth mounds symbolize the sacred mounds of the native people. The eight pillars represent the eight major U.S. Conflicts. The stone block’s four sides show worldwide service by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The carvings evoke historic people, weapons and battles above gravestones symbolizing lives given for our country.”

In November 2018 a resident pointed out the discoloration on the memorial, crooked flag poles and uneven brickwork. The brick fundraiser addresses these problems.

The memorial is the responsibility of the city, and the project at hand is being carried out by the Park Board.

"Originally, the goal was $10,000, but as we started to get some estimates of the work we had planned, it started to look like $15,000 would be needed," said Ross Widenor, chair of the Park Board. "However, we later revised the scope for some cost savings. Any extra money raised will be used for a fund for ongoing maintenance."

The Munroe Falls Park Board is selling bricks to raise funds to restore the Veterans Monument.

The bricks are either 4 by 8 inches with three lines of engraving for $100 or 8 by 8 inches with six lines of engraving for $200.

So far 40 bricks have been sold, Widenor said. The bricks can be dedicated to a veteran or the armed services in general but no advertising is allowed. Some bricks honor all veterans.

“We can sell any number of bricks,” he said. “The ones we ordered before July have been installed, but we’re open for more orders."

The funds have helped to clean the monument and will replace the flag pole footers which are crooked, Widenor said. There are no plans for benches at this time, other than the planter benches recently installed along the walkways as an Eagle Scout project. The memorial will also be getting a new sign facing the road, as the old one was destroyed years ago.

"Our goal would be to complete the maintenance,” Widenor said. “We did the cleaning and the new lighting was donated by Thompson Electric.”

Stow-Munroe Falls Community Foundation donated funds for the project from proceeds from banners that the cities of Stow and Munroe Falls sell and place along state Route 91 and Munroe Falls Avenue. 

"The money is for the upkeep to bring it back to its full glory and to set aside money for maintenance,” Widenor said.

For the past two years, the Park Board has worked with Mulberry Gardens on a joint Veterans Day event taking place at the memorial, in which the mayor recognized veterans with remarks and a pinning ceremony, Widenor said.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-14) was able to join for a keynote, he said. Mulberry made residents and their families aware of the brick fundraiser.

Mayor James Armstrong said the ceremony in 2018 was the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1918 which ended World War I.

"We wanted to use the Veterans Day ceremony to make the monument a focal point for those who gave their lives for the freedom we often take for granted," Armstrong said. "We want to remember those who died and those who served their country."

Whether drafted or volunteers, those in the service put their lives on hold to serve their country, he said. They have to postpone goals and objectives to serve even when not during war time.  

"We are not planning any in-person activities for Veterans Day this year due to the pandemic," Widenor said. "Instead, we will plan to put out more information about the project and, hopefully, that the work has been completed and thank all veterans for their service."

Armstrong asks that residents put out flags to honor all veterans.

Brick ordering forms can be picked up in the lobby of City Hall or downloaded at https://www.bricksrus.com/donorsite/mfveteransmemorial

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.