Veterans told to revise Traxler Park plans

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
— Despite stressing support for a memorial area in Traxler Park, the Janesville City Council on Monday said a plan proposed by a local veterans’ group would fragment open space in the park that other groups might need.

Voting 6-1, council members told the Janesville Patriotic Society it is welcome to use the park’s far northern loop, where the veterans’ walkway now exists. The group also gained permission to place memorials along the road in that area.

However, the majority of the council agreed with both the city plan commission and members of community groups that a proposed system of walkways would break up open space in the park, making it difficult for other groups to host events.

The council invited the patriotic society to come back with a revised plan.

The council will allow the group to expand its brick walkway and erect two memorials on the park’s north end because the group is running out of space for engraved pavers.

Veteran Tom Stehura said after the meeting that he will return to the various veterans organizations that form the patriotic society to see if they want to pursue the idea.

“We discussed other options, and nobody was really enthusiastic about anything other than the one (design) we had,” Stehura said. “The council left it open. Now, we’ll have to decide how to pursue it and if we want to pursue it.”

Stehura said the group believes the sidewalks would enhance the area and improve access to the parks for all groups, especially disabled veterans.

Only two people have ever offered to lay down his or her life for yours, he told council members.

“One was Jesus Christ, the other one was the American soldier who does it every day he serves,” he said.

Stehura said he didn’t agree with those who said residents would not use the area because it would become sacred ground.

Duane Cherek, city staff, said Traxler Park is popular because of its open space. A walkway would fragment that space.

“What makes Traxler Park so unique is the flexibility provided by the open space area to host some of these events,” Cherek said. “I’m uncertain why occupying a majority of the northern loop in Traxler is required when any number of schemes or designs can work.”

Councilman George Brunner said he worried heavy trucks hauling equipment for events would break up the brick walkway.

Councilman Russ Steeber, though, said the area immediately north of the main parking lot “is a fairly large area. I’m having a hard time seeing how that could be in conflict because it is spread out.

“Why not let people walk around and experience and … remember?” said Steeber, who voted in favor of the veterans’ proposal. “That’s what this is about, placing them where they (the memorials) can be experienced and enjoyed.”

Councilman Tom McDonald suggested the city can work around the handicapped parking issue and said space could be reserved near the far northern end during special veterans events.

“I have no problem with the memorials,” McDonald said. “The walkway is what takes up the space.”

Last updated: 4:54 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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