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City Council Helps Fund Memorial

By Staff | Mar 18, 2008

On a split vote, Emmetsburg City Council will donate $1600 toward the Veterans Memorial.

“This is a worthwhile project,” said Councilman Pat Degen, when making the motion to donate the funds.

Ron Hersom, VFW Commander and a member of the Veterans Memorial committee, had approached the City Council the end of February to ask for a monetary donation. The committee proposes adding to the memorial which stands on South Broadway next to the election center.

Life-size statues (two soldiers, a Navy veteran and a nurse) are proposed to stand near the memorial. These are the same figures that are on display at the Whittemore memorial. Each of the figures costs approximately $1,600, and the committee has raised approximately $5,000 to date. The committee hopes to have the addition completed before Memorial Day.

Council representative Sandy Pelzer reiterated her position at the March 10 meeting that she shared with the council in February. “I don’t think it’s the right project (referring to the statues). I wish they would have gotten more public input. I’m concerned about emotions. The response I have gotten is G.I. Joe or a giant Army man.”

Pelzer had expressed concern about the statues posing as a trigger for post traumatic stress disorder at the February meeting.

“This isn’t a city project,” said City Administrator John Bird. “The request before you is for funding. It’s not appropriate to micro-manage their project.”

Council representative Pam Smith added, “I’m in favor of funding. But aesthetically it’s not something I want to see when I come into Emmetsburg. We should encourage Ron (Hersom) to do something different. I have a problem with the statues they have chosen.”

“My dad stops at every memorial,” said Councilman Steve Finer. “He really appreciates memorials for people who have served.”

“I am a seven-year veteran and its no problem for me to look at them (statues),” said Degen.

“The statues don’t look like people,” said Smith. “It looks like a display for recruitment.”

“It’s because of them (veterans) that we’re here,” said Councilman Cory Gramowski. “It’s for them. I don’t see a problem with it.”

“It’s for everybody in the community,” stressed Pelzer.

Councilmen Degen, Campbell, Gramowski and Finer voted in favor of donating $1,600 to the memorial project; Smith and Pelzer voted no.

In other business, the council approved a building permit for Pizza Ranch, located at the corner of 11th and Broadway. Pizza Ranch owner Darold Jamtgaard proposes refacing the front of the building on 11th Street, installing new windows and entrance doors, and putting up a porch roof to extend the length of the building.

Discussion before the council was on the existing awning, which is supported by chains. Deb Hite, speaking as family of the building owner, said she wanted to keep the existing awning to maintain the integrity of the building. However, the awning is sagging and would require support posts.

Council representative Pelzer asked if there are any plans for unified downtown appearance. City Administrator Bird said that would be a voluntary thing.

Councilman Brian Campbell also asked, “Do we want to look at some consistency down the road?”

Mayor John Schad added,“We have tried over the years to get a cohesive plan. I hate to see our lack of a plan cause people who want to improve their buildings to have to wait.”

Councilman Degen expressed concern over wood posts. City Administrator Bird noted that would be a permanent structure on public property.

Deb Hite pointed out that the northwest corner of the awning is starting to settle and needed support. The old awning has since been removed, making way for the new awning. The new awning will come out only as far as the costume shoppe entry.