EL Memorial spot still in questionPublished 10:56am Wednesday, June 6, 2012 Updated 11:13am Wednesday, June 6, 2012
In a meeting that included contentious back-and-forth among area residents, the Grant County Board on Tuesday created a new task force to determine the location of the Grant County Veterans Memorial.
At a special meeting attended by about 40, those who wanted the memorial directly in front of the courthouse and those who wanted it moved west of the sidewalk made passionate arguments stating their cases.
After Grant County Veterans Memorial Support organization representatives Jim Johnson and Wes Moir addressed the board at Tuesday’s meeting, several county residents shared opinions on the topic.
American Legion Post 0321 chaplain Jim Clough said the memorial is a little piece of what Americans have fought for.
“If you put us off to the side, that tells future generations they can do the same,” he said.
Lonnie Olson, a veteran and lifelong Elbow Lake resident, said the courthouse is the focal point of Elbow Lake, and there is no reason to build the memorial directly in front of it.
The original plan was to build the memorial directly in front of the courthouse in the center of the horseshoe-shaped sidewalk, but after the land was assessed and a designer evaluated the area, it was proposed that the memorial be moved just west of the sidewalk. The county has been split on the issue since the proposal was made.
After around 10 residents shared opinions, commissioner Tom Amundson made a motion to build the memorial on the west side of the sidewalk. None of the other commissioners seconded, and the motion was denied.
“I wanted to see the issue come to a head, but that just didn’t happen today,” Amundson later said.
The meeting was concluded with an agreement that two representatives from the Grant County Veterans Memorial Support Organization would meet with the Grant County attorney and two county commissioners on Thursday to work out a maintenance agreement for the memorial.
“I hope we can come up with a reasonable settlement that will allow us to build a beautiful memorial,” said president of the Grant County Veterans Memorial Support organization Clint Grove after the meeting.
Both Amundson and Grove said they want to see the location decided on at the next county board meeting in two weeks.