Veterans’ Memorial Donations Sought By Stephanie Petrellese

Mayor Robert J. Rothschild is calling upon residents of all ages to make a new veterans’ memorial a “community event” and has requested Village Administrator Robert L. Schoelle, Jr. to begin accepting monetary donations from residents to help offset the project’s estimated $25,000 cost. The Mayor said he will be the first person to send a check to the new fund established for the cause.

The proposal entails moving the current memorial area approximately 300 feet west to where the gazebo is located on Seventh Street across from the Garden City Hotel. It will include four new plaques for veterans from World War I, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and one for the Garden City Medal of Honor winners. Each plaque will measure 2’ by 1’6” and be mounted on a pedestal. The WWII plaque currently located by the train station will be placed with the other plaques. Landscaping, lighting, installation and architectural services will be handled by Village personnel as a way to keep costs down.

“Hopefully by Memorial Day of next year we will be celebrating at the new location,” said Trustee Dennis Donnelly.

In February, the Mayor announced that a subcommittee had been formed to study a proposal to improve the veterans’ memorial, which was presented to the BOT by Garden City resident and Vietnam veteran Cyril Smith. Trustee Donnelly serves as the chairperson, and Deputy Mayor Donald Brudie and Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh are members.

The Mayor thanked the committee for its efforts, and recognized that they were working under severe budgetary restrictions. He said that when the idea was first posited by Smith, he received 40 to 50 letters, and at least 60 e-mails, praising the plan.

“We have had a number of things like this in the Village that kind of die on the vine, but I think this would be a nice thing for the Village to get together,” Mayor Rothschild said.

He said it would be a great project for local schools to get involved with, and suggested students think of possible fundraising ideas to generate revenue for the cause. Trustee Laurence Quinn, the liaison to the school board, was asked to bring the issue to the attention of school board trustees.

“We have had enough issues in this Village that have divided us,” he said. “I don’t think there is any way that this issue could divide us.”

John C. Donovan, commander of William Bradford Turner Post 265 of the American Legion, told The Garden City News he is very pleased that memorial plans are moving forward. He said he is always touched by the “heartfelt warmth” afforded to veterans by residents. Donovan marches with his fellow veterans in the annual Memorial Day parade, and says his heart swells with pride as they turn the corner onto Seventh Street and are greeted with thunderous applause and cheers. He estimates that 1,300 to 1,400 households in the Village of Garden City have at least one veteran.

“I am delighted to hear that the trustee’s subcommittee on the veterans’ memorial garden project has announced that the Village will be moving forward with the plans,” Donovan told The Garden City News via e-mail. “Although I participated in one meeting, and have supplied some information and recommendations, I have not met with the committee for some time. For the record, I have not had any difficulties with the committee. In fact, Trustee Don Brudie, in particular, has been very supportive of my efforts in helping with the project.”

Checks should be made out to the “Incorporated Village of Garden City” with “War Memorial Fund” in the subject line. Village Counsel Gerard Fishberg will set up a special account for the money. The mayor said all money will be returned if the Board decides not to move forward with the project.

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