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Posts Tagged ‘Plymouth Community Veteran’s Memorial Park’

I’ve written about this issue several times in the past, so no need to rehash the background.

By way of update, I received an email today regarding a fundraiser to save the Veterans Memorial Park wall, the original stone and mortar wall erected shortly after World War I.  If you are interested in this issue, please check out this event and give if you can.

Hi all — I heard from my friend Wendy this week. The bad news is that they did not get the grant they applied for. The good news is that thus far they have collected $2,600 in donations. Just enough to perform the basic repairs to the wall! Which is great, but they are really trying to reach their goal of $5,600 by the end of the month. They are holding a fundraiser — “Tea and Scones to Save the Stones.”

Saturday, April 18, 2009
1pm – 3pm
Plymouth District Library

Enjoy tea and sweet treats provided by:
Sweet Afton Tea Room • Panera Bread Co. • Tranquilitea
While you discover lovely & unique creative
theme tables designed by:
• Basket Kreations • Bohemian Home • Haven
• Home Sweet Home • Maggie and Me
• Magnolia • Sideways • The Velvet Plum

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at the above retail shops. Tickets must be purchased before April 18th.
No tickets will be sold the day of the event.
Brought to you by:
http://www.plymouthpreserv ation.org

Please pass along to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks so much!!

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Here’s the latest from the group trying to save the original Veterans Memorial Park stone wall.  It appears that basic repairs can be done very cheaply (especially compared to the $100,000 the committee is willing to spend for a new wall)

We have selected Salem Farms to repair the stone wall. The mason’s
name is Pat Cahill (Salem Farms is his business name). He is local and
comes very highly recommended. He is very willing to work with us and
has agreed to perform the work in stages if necessary.
What does that mean? Please see the attached flyer for a graph of
work that can be accomplished in three stages. The basic work that
needs to be done will cost $2,600. If that is all we can raise by May
1st, then he will just perform the basic repairs. If we can raise
$5,600 then Pat can perform additional work like fixing bad repairs of
the past and reshaping some areas that seem to have just been slapped
together (I think cars previously hit these areas).
Thus far we have collected $560. We are really pushing to collect
the full $5,600, but will settle for $2,600 if that is all we can
raise.

I’m not sure how you can contact this group to donate to the cause, but I will check on that and post an update.

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I received an email last night indicating that the Veteran’s Memorial Park Committee has agreed to give the Plymouth Preservation Network the time/opportunity to raise the funds necessary to repair the existing wall.  This is good news for those of us who believe the historical wall should be repaired, not replaced.  Here is the substance of the email, with information about how you can help:

I have great news! The veterans have agreed to allow our group some
time to fund raise. They would like us to set a deadline for when we
think we will have at least 50% of the money raised. They would also
like to have a detailed plan of work that the stone mason will be
performing to the wall.

We are currently in the process of obtaining two other bids from
stone masons (the one we already have is for $18,000). Our group also feels that some sort of historical marker should be created to let people know about the history of the wall.

I did a little quick math and figured out that if every house hold in the city and township donated just $1.25, we would have enough money to repair the wall. We realize that in these difficult economic
times families are having to choose between putting food on the table and paying the heating bill. So it will not be possible for every house hold to donate money, even just $1.25. If there are people who
want to help, but are not in a position to donate money, we would encourage them to volunteer their time. Time is just as valuable as money. We will need help with planning at least one major fund raiser
for this project.

If you would like to get involved with saving the wall, please plan to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 7pm at the historical museum on Main Street. We will be discussing a time line and plan for fundraising.

If people wish to donate money, please make checks payable to Plymouth Preservation Network and mail to:

Plymouth Preservation Network
P.O. Box #6137
Plymouth, MI 48170

This would be a huge task for one person, but as a community working
together, I think it is a goal we can achieve!

Thanks for spreading the word!

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The battle over the proposed demolition of the Veteran’s Memorial Park wall is heating up.  I, without reservation, urge that the wall should be saved and that the reasons given to replace the existing historic structure with a new one are lousy, at best.*

This issue was brought to the attention of many of us through our neighborhood park association forum.  On the front page of today’s Plymouth Observer is an article about the issue.  See the link below.

http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20081109/NEWS15/811090498/1032

The article nicely lays out the position of the Veteran’s Park Committee.  While I appreciate the Committee’s position, I think the members are dead wrong on this issue.   Indented quotes are from the article, followed by my thoughts:

“(The stone wall) is in bad shape,” Bob Zaetta of Plymouth Township, president of the Plymouth Community Veteran’s Memorial Park committee, told commissioners Monday night. “According to our contractor, one of the major reasons why the wall keeps cracking and crumbling is because it doesn’t have a footing underneath it. There are at least a dozen different kinds of mortar in the wall … and according to (City Manager Paul) Sincock at least three times people have run into it with their cars. So the question is how much of the wall is original, anyway?

A few major questions are raised by Mr. Zaetta’s comments.  One, is their contractor that says the wall is in such bad shape the same contractor that stands to land a $100,000 renovation project?  Would we expect that contractor to suggest anything other than the wall being completely replaced?  Two, if the historic wall is replaced with a new, manufactured wall, will cars stop running into it?  Three, so what if there are “a dozen different kinds of mortar” in the wall?  The preservation of any historic structure requires the use of  non-original materials.

While Zaetta told commissioners his group has a donor to pay the $100,000 cost for a new wall, the Plymouth Preservation Network promised to raise money for the $18,000 needed to repair the rock wall.

Southeastern Michigan is in economic crisis right now.  More bad news for our area could be on the horizon.  If an historic structure can be preserved for $82,000 less than replacing that structure, we would be better stewards of people’s money to preserve the wall.  I understand that a donor has supposedly pledged $100,000 to replace the wall and it is his or her money to do with it as he or she sees fit.  But this wall is in our community.  As a member of that community, I would ask the anonymous donor to give his or her money to a more worthwhile cause, e.g. fixing the existing wall.

“We’re not looking for a temporary fix. We think it will help beautify the park.”

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  In my humble opinion, the stone gateway at the park entrance looks fake, cheap.  It lacks character and holds no significance — cultural, historical or otherwise — whatsoever.

This is a somewhat atypical situation.  Often times it costs more to preserve an historic structure than it does to replace it.  Here, the present wall costs considerably less to save than to replace.  To me, that makes preserving history a no-brainer.

Something smells foul about this whole thing.  I do not understand the Veteran’s Park Committee’s anxiousness to rid a park, that is historical in nature, of its most historic feature.  The contractor that would replace the wall stands to make a decent sum of money.  I would love to know more about the relationship between the mystery contractor and members of the committee and/or the anonymous donor.

I hope the Plymouth City Commission will come to its senses and reject the VPC’s request to demolish and replace the wall.

*I profess that I am biased.  In most instances, I value the traditional and historical over the modern and utilitarian.  I also do not like most contemporary buildings and structures.  In my view, they often lack the beauty and depth of historical structures.  I am also not a veteran and I admit that the Veterans Park Comittee members may have stronger feelings about this issue in particular precisely because they are intimately involved in the establishment and running of the park.

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