Central Point OKs war memorial at Don Jones Park

CENTRAL POINT — The City Council has given the approval for a quarter-acre war memorial to be sited in the soon-to-be-built Don Jones Memorial Park on Hamrick Road.

The idea for the memorial, which the council approved Thursday, was presented last month by longtime resident Marty Terrell, who has garnered support from Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point.

The two formed a committee and are attempting to raise the first $40,000 of the project, slated to cost between $180,000 and $250,000, by Feb. 1 to apply for a $90,000 state grant.

City officials were presented with the idea last month but opted to decide whether to allow the project after public opinion had been received and the city parks commission had reviewed the project's proposed design, which is being funded partially by a state grant.

City Administrator Phil Messina explained Thursday that council members were concerned about approving the project before gathering public opinion because the city had embarked on a lengthy process to enable the community to have a say in the ultimate park design.

In addition, doing away with any amenities in the park design would have forfeited a $235,000 state parks and recreation department grant.

All told, the park was designed last year and expected to cost about $600,000.

In working with the city on the memorial, project coordinators reduced its size to less than half its initial design, relocated tennis courts planned for the site and reduced a children's play area slightly, enabling the park to retain all its planned features — and funding.

The memorial, which resembles a spoked wheel, will feature six individual memorial areas for the various military branches, flags for each branch near the center and a bronze eagle statue at the center.

Landscaping, benches and possibly gazebos are also planned and community members have been invited to donate funds or sponsor the memorial by paying for specifics like bricks, benches, trees or flagpoles.

Construction of Don Jones Park is set to begin in late April or early May and the memorial is scheduled to break ground on Memorial Day and be open to the public by Veterans Day.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.

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