City Council Approves Rising Sun/Ohio County Veterans Memorial
By Mike Perleberg
The Veterans Tribute Tower in Rising Sun, Indiana. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Rising Sun, Ind.) – Applause erupted from a room full of veterans after Rising Sun City Council voted Thursday to allow work on a new veterans memorial to go forward.
The Rising Sun American Legion and Ohio County Veterans Service Office has had plans since 2008 to construct a memorial at the existing Veterans Tribute Tower on the riverfront. A grant awarded by the Rising Sun Regional Foundation in 2015 made it appear that the memorial would be erected soon.
However, the project has been going through redesigns since last year. The Legion is sitting on $67,000 remaining from the foundation grant, according to Legion member Bill Parks.
Residents of a condominium community across the street from the planned memorial site voiced concerns about noise and light pollution from the memorial. They worry that flag poles would clang constantly and that lights illuminating the memorial features may be too harsh. There are also fears that the memorial would partially block their view of the Ohio River.
Local attorney Lane Siekman presented on behalf of the veterans, explaining that the clock tower was not meant to be complete when it was dedicated in 2008.
“The tower is there on the riverfront, but it isn’t a place,” he told council.
Local veterans packed the Rising Sun City Council meeting Thursday, August 3. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.
Condo resident Art Wright said the clock tower was meant to be a standalone tribute, which is why the condominium owners association supported it back in 2008, but the addition of the memorial belittles the tower’s intent.
“This is not us against the veterans or the memorial. I think you should be remembered, honored, and given all the thanks we can,” said Wright.
Rising Sun Mayor Brent Bascom, who took office in January, had appointed a city committee to review the memorial plans. He said the city has received a number of letters about the proposed memorial.
“It’s not that city couldn’t or shouldn’t support this, but these are concerns that the city should consider,” Bascom said, adding that city officials were concerned about a limited amount of greenspace on the riverfront.
Parks, who is also the Ohio County Veterans Service Officer, gave city council assurance that the redesign of the memorial shown at the meeting is the final design.
“It’s been a lot of work. It’s time to make a decision. We can’t move forward with a survey or engineering or anything unless there’s a decision,” Parks pleaded.
After about an hour of discussion, city council voted unanimously to allow the legion to move forward with construction of the memorial.
With approval now granted, Parks said the Legion will have an engineer begin work on the Rising Sun/Ohio County Veterans Memorial. The new memorial could be completed in 2018, barring any further delays.
The riverfront property where the memorial will be placed will continue to be owned by the city. City crews would mow around the memorial, Parks said, but Legion members would take up the responsibility of maintaining the memorial.