Monday, September 8, 2003

Vet memorial to get upgrade

Madeira residents submit ideas

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MADEIRA - Les LeFevre can describe the city's veteran's memorial at Sellman Park - a six-foot stone pyramid and small plaque - in a couple of phrases.

"Pretty pathetic. Completely inadequate," said LeFevre, a the long-time resident and Marine who served in Vietnam.

But that will change.

After two years of legwork by LeFevre, recreation and parks board member Kathy Bechtold, and a group of other city residents, the preliminary design for a new memorial is expected to be unveiled today to city council.

The $102,000-plus memorial, proposed near the shelter at McDonald Commons off Dawson Road, is planned to include a landscaped circular brick pathway with benches, as well as a paved stone dedication area with monuments and flags.

Council must first approve the design before planners can begin fund-raising. They hope to raise the hefty sum through corporate sponsorships and the sale of inscribed pavers to veterans, said LeFevre.

"We really want this to belong to the community," said Bechtold, who visited other local memorials and took pictures to help come up with a design.

Bechtold was struck by the need for a new memorial a few years ago, when she attended the city's Memorial Day March, a solemn and silent parade of residents from the present memorial off Miami Avenue to McDonald Commons.

"It's so moving with the silent march through the streets," she said. "There was just a dilapidated little plaque there. I thought we needed to do something."

Residents can catch a glimpse of the design Sept. 20 during Bicentennial Festival at Sellman Park.



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