Veterans Memorial Commission Advances Plan A
By Michael McAllister
Two days after Veterans Day and six days after a close but successful levy vote, Grinnell’s Veterans Memorial Commission met in regular session on Monday, November 13. Unity, inclusion, and work were the themes of the evening as the commission made plans to bring the Prairie Star Residency to the Veterans Memorial Building.
All four members of the commission were present, and twelve people made up the audience.
In opening remarks, Commission Chair Leo Lease stressed the need “to try and include as many people as possible,” and he expressed the idea that the voter turnout on election day was an indication of significant community involvement on both sides of the levy issue.
Nicole Brua-Behrens of the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation presented a budget report. She said that 32,821 donations have been received and that a fund balance of $26,078 exists as of August 31.
Two bills were approved: a utility bill of $75.30 and $500 to the Bill Menner Group for fundraising activities.
Lease reported inspecting the inside of the Veteran Memorial Building recently. A large fan is circulating air, and the inside of the building is dry and is not deteriorating. Having consulted ith John Bushong, Lease concluded that it should not be necessary to heat the building this winter.
The levy approved by voters on election day is estimated to generate $112,956 per year with receipts coming in April and in October.
Lease called on Tom Lacina, left, for an update on the Prairie Star Residency Program. Lacina recommended calling together a group that would include representatives from the city, the Public Works and Grounds Committee, the Grinnell Area Arts Council, and the Veterans Memorial Commission. The group’s aim would be “to fill in the blanks a little bit as to what exactly is the Prairie Star Residency” and “to give substance to that program that would exist in that facility.”
Lacina stressed the importance of establishing a relationship among the entities that would be involved.
A clearer vision of the future is important for community education and for fundraising, Lacina continued.
Lease stated he would set up a meeting as requested to begin setting specifics.
On the topic of fundraising, Lacina advised that he will confer with Bill Menner and Nicole Brua-Behrens to draft a plan to bring to the commission in December.
Lacina envisions a “major marketing campaign” not only at the local and state levels but also nationwide. The positive levy vote is an effective starting point since it attests to community support of the project. Ideally, the Prairie Star Residency will result from “a composite of many voices, many pocketbooks.”
Lacina also commented that the memorial building and its program should be from the community, not only from the veterans. He added, “the veterans shouldn’t have to build the memorial to themselves.”
“We have a big job in front of us, and it’s uphill still,” concluded Leo Lease as the meeting adjourned.
The Veterans Memorial Commission will meet again on Monday, December 11, at 5:15 p.m. in the Community Room at the Drake Library.