Janesville group to present plans for veterans memorial at Traxler Park

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Saturday, January 22, 2011
— The Janesville Patriotic Society’s most recent proposal to create a patriotic center in Traxler Park leaves out a controversial suggestion to move three memorials from downtown Janesville.

The society already has built a Medal of Honor Circle and a veterans walk of about 2,000 bricks inscribed with names of veterans in the park’s northern loop.

Society members Monday will give the Janesville City Council a proposal to enhance the circle with additional veterans and war memorials.

The society will ask that the council forward the plans to the plan commission. The plan commission could schedule a public hearing.

The society wants to create a Veterans Memorial Plaza in the park, providing a peaceful place for veterans programs and ceremonies, said Tom Stehura, a society member.

The society would improve handicapped accessibility at the northern end of the park, build walkways, plant landscaping, coordinate activities related to the placement of the monuments and raise funds. It would ask for no city money.

Cost is estimated at about $250,000. Stehura said the society could start work almost immediately because it has most of the money raised.

The plan leaves plenty of room in the park for other groups to hold events, Stehura said.

In 2009, the group brought the idea for a patriotic center to the council. It suggested moving from the Corn Exchange the World War I Doughboy, the World War II tank company monument and the World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars monument.

The suggestion received a cool reception from some council members and residents. Some said moving the monuments would desecrate sacred ground and the downtown’s history. At least one council member was concerned about flooding in the park.

The council asked the group to return with more specific information.

More than 2,500 people belong to the patriotic society. Member organizations include the American Legion Post No. 205; the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1621; and the Gold Star Mothers.

Stehura stressed that the organization has no plans to move the Corn Exchange monuments, although the group still believes it would be nice to have all of them in the same location.

The society on Monday will unveil three possible designs.

The Leisure Services Advisory Committee has already endorsed the proposal.

Five groups are committed to building memorials.


The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.

Items on the agenda include:

-- A talk on when to waive special-event fees. The council in the past has waived fees for some groups and not others, raising concerns about fairness. The fees are levied to recoup costs, so the general fund subsidizes those events when fees are waived. Staff recommends that the council implement a policy so groups know what they are expected to pay when they submit applications. For instance, the council could decide not to waive special-events fees or waive fees only for not-for-profit sponsored events.

-- Direction from the council on whether non-residents can serve on city committees, commissions and boards.

-- A vote to buy for $20,000 and demolish for $7,000 a foreclosed home at 513 Linn St. as part of the city’s blight elimination program. The property has an assessed value of $73,900.

Last updated: 4:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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