Future veterans park & museum accepting donations



{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=47|imageid=280|displayname=0|float=left}The total estimated cost of the park and museum is $1.5 million.


Hutto said the initial plan was to find a group of local architects and have them each submit a design for the park and museum, and they would choose the best one. But he said that plan changed when the architects didnt want to compete, but rather to pool their knowledge and resources.


They said, we want to work together on this, for our veterans, our county and our country, Hutto said.


Jeff Hall, architect with The Hall Group, noted the center of the park would be a large star-shaped fountain, the American flag in the center, with each point of the star representing the five branches of military service.


Pointing to the design plans, Hall said each branch would have its flag displayed at the points of the star, with granite slabs containing the names of any Wilson County citizens who have served in those branches.


The museum would border Cherry Street and contain artifacts and memorabilia on display as well as information about the conflicts in which Wilson County residents have served.


Wayne Oakley, architect with Studio Oakley Architects, LLC, said the museum would be filled with items from local people and the displays could be changed whenever a local individual had something new to add.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=47|imageid=281|displayname=0|float=right}


This would be a constantly changing and living museum, Oakley said.


The north wall of the museum is designed as a full window, which Hall noted would look out on a planned eternal flame that will be built in the northeast corner of the property.


Included in the design is a new office for the Veterans Services department, which is currently located in a small office in the County Courthouse. Hall said Veterans Services Director Bernie Ash and Assistant Service Officer Carol Dedman would have more space to serve veterans.


The office building also includes restrooms and a large lobby for those visiting the park and museum.


Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Many-Bears Grinder was on hand to applaud the effort in conceptualizing the park and museum.


I salute the county leaders and everyone in the community that has come together for this project, she said.


Grinder said Wilson County has a true respect and admiration for its veterans and has long held a reputation of honoring them with Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, parades and the many local chapters of veterans organizations.


Ash said local citizens could help build the park and museum by donating money, purchasing a brick or T-shirt. Bricks may be purchased in memory of a fallen veteran, honor all veterans or in general support of those who serve.


{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=47|imageid=282|displayname=0|float=left}Bricks range in size and prize from 4-inches-by-8-inches at $200, 8-inches-by-8-inches for $350, 8-inches-by-16-inches for $600 and 12-inches-by-12-inches for $800. Individuals can also purchase a 4-inch-by8-inch plaque for a Wall of Honor for $100. The county is also selling T-shirts with a picture of the museum on the back for $20.


Ash said general donations are welcome and those who donated between $25 and $199 would have their names placed on a Donor Plaque.


For more information, call the Veterans Services office at 444-2460 or visit them at the County Courthouse at 228 E. Main Street, Room 106, in Lebanon.


Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.