park pg 1 10-5-23

One Step
The new vinyl fence went in in May and the shrubbery followed on the synagogue side. Linda Lemmon photo.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — It’s thumbs up for the next step in the rebirth of Veterans Park.
Robert Challinor Jr., who heads the town’s Veterans Advisory Committee, said Harvard H. Ellis Tech masonry and electrical students will be starting work on the redesigned park in the spring.
The committee’s application for using the student program is a go.
The park has been redesigned around future monuments.
The spring project involves the removal of all the walkways, to be replaced by new walkways and the pouring of two ramps, one on each side of the new white vinyl fence. The ramp will allow veterans access to the park. The electrical students will put in all the wiring needed for the redesigned park before the new walkways are poured. Challinor said protective boxes will be placed over lights meant for future monuments.
The students descended on the park shortly after Labor Day to figure out the materials list.
He thinks the materials list will probably be available for the committee’s meeting next week. “We are to provide the materials,” he said. When committee members get a look at the list they can devise a fund-raising plan. The recently held chicken BBQ raised $2,055 toward the cause. There is some residual money sitting in an account. Because the committee is also a non-profit, projects are eligible for grants.
Challinor said projects also get help from the surrounding community in the form of donations or materials at cost. “We have a great, supportive community,” he said.
When the students start or how long their work will take is weather-dependent. “When we get closer (to spring), we’ll know more,” he said.
This is only one part of a multi-phase project. Earlier this year Challinor estimated the projected cost of the whole plan is $200,000 to $300,000. Monuments that will be added along the redone walkways include Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and a new one, Operation Inherent Resolve. The town already has its Beirut Monument in storage, waiting for its place in the redone park.
Earlier this year, he said plans call for memorial bricks to be sold. He added a sign visible from three sides will be installed by the town near the corner of Bridge and Church streets.
Also waiting for spring is the finishing touches on the Grove Street Monument. A new flagpole was recently installed and the committee is still deciding on benches, flowers and bushes. The sidewalk project along Grove Street was recently completed, delaying the finishing touches for that area.
The Veterans Advisory Committee’s voting members are veterans from the local VFW, American Legion, The Danielson Coffeehouse, the Elks and the Knights of Columbus. Each organization proposed a veteran member and those were OK’d by the Board of Selectmen. In addition there are non-voting members, such as the mayor.
Committee members include: Robert Challinor Jr., Hans W. Lowell, David Gilbert, Alan R. Joslin, Michael Vassar, James Bradley, and Michael L. Santerre.


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