By JAIME STUDD
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF FLORIDA -- In an effort to finally complete a major portion of the park's design, the Florida Veteran's Park Committee is seeking an additional $65,000 in funding from the town.
According to Committee Chairman Dan Wilson, the money would be used to complete all of the stamped concrete that will comprise the park's walkway. If approved, Wilson said, major construction on the park could be completed as soon as this summer.
The matter was discussed briefly at Monday night's town board meeting.
"I know it's a tough pill to swallow," Wilson said. "But this is something that's going to be around for years and years."
Wilson said he was bringing the request to board, but that he was hoping to get feedback from town residents about whether or not they approved of such a sizable contribution.
"If the overwhelming support is there, I have no problem with it," said Florida town Supervisor Bill Strevy.
Construction of the park was initiated last year with a $15,000 contribution from the town.
It was officially dedicated at a special Veterans Day ceremony in November.
The park sits on an approximately 110 foot by 200 foot piece of land adjacent to the town offices.
It currently features a central stone honoring each of the five branches of the military and a flag pole at its center.
Part of the planned circular walkway is complete and features stone pavers bought by contributors and inscribed with personal dedications.
The walkway, once complete, will be lined with 14 evenly placed smaller monuments -- one for each military conflict/war in which the United States has fought.
All of the monuments will be donated, Wilson said. The first one, the World War II monument, has already been purchased by BBL Construction Services, of Albany.
The monuments are being sold for $3,500 each. Granite bench memorials are also available for $2,500 each.
The park's plans also call for retired military equipment, specifically a tank, a helicopter and a plane, to serve as featured pieces.
Total construction cost is expected to be approximately $200,000.
Wilson said the committee has taken great strides in recent days toward completing the park, though it will likely be another two years before it is completely finished.
All of the steel required to construct the park's 24 foot by 24 foot multi-use main pavilion has been delivered. The frame was furnished, fabricated and donated by Standard Steel Fabricators of Voorheesville.
The footing were poured last fall and the structure will be built entirely by volunteers "as soon as the weather is nice" Wilson said.
Acquisition of the military vehicles is also underway, Wilson told the board on Monday.
The group as already been approved to receive a T-33 Jet from the United States Air Force and is currently in the process of completing the required paperwork.
They are on a waiting list for both the helicopter and the tank.
"I'm really excited about this," Wilson said. "This is for the whole town. It's not just for the veterans."
Wilson said he envisions community groups using the site for various events.
"Everybody's very enthusiastic about it," said Wilson. "We just need some help."
"It belongs to the town," he added. "It doesn't belong to us."
The board agreed to let the community weigh in on the additional contribution before rendering any decision.
Florida residents are asked to contact board members to express their wishes.
The Veteran's Committee has also established a web site where residents can track the progress being made. For more information, visit http://townoffloridanationalveteranspark.org.