Central Point park could become site of vets' memorial

A longtime Central Point resident and mother to three Crater High School graduates who went on to serve in the military, Marty Terrell hopes to help erect a one-acre veterans memorial in the future Don Jones Park.

Terrell, who has garnered support at the state level, presented the plans in recent weeks to the City Council, which granted tentative approval pending the results of a town hall meeting.

Terrell got the idea from a similar project, designed by her brother, and felt her hometown should have a similar place to memorialize fallen war heroes.

"My brother was the architect for the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial," Terrell said. "And it is an absolutely beautiful place, located on an acre of land with a chapel and various monuments. It's just incredible and the city there really got behind it and raised the funds and supported the idea. I got to thinking about it when I got home and can't think of any reason not to have one here."

Development Services Director Matt Samitore said, as presented thus far, the memorial "looks very nice," resembling a wheel base surrounded by landscaping, a gazebo and meandering paths.

If approved, the site would bear the names of soldiers from Oregon who served and died since the Vietnam War.

Samitore said the only issue for the council is how to make changes to master plans for the park, much of which is being funded by grant money that come with special spending restrictions.

Phase one of the long-awaited park, set to begin around late April, is being built with some $600,000 in funds from the city's budget and state grants, meaning the city's hands are somewhat tied when it comes to changes to the park's master plan.

"A few of the council members had some concerns about giving up roughly a tenth of the park, so we're bringing it forward for discussion," Samitore said. "This park's been master planned for so many years "¦ and because of the grant funding, there are basically only two places in the park where this could go."

Samitore said planning officials also had suggested other possible locations but would gather public opinion.

"The dilemma is that we're obviously very limited for parkland," Samitore said. "But this could potentially be a state recognized facility — a really neat amenity for Central Point."

In addition, the council directed city staff to work with project coordinators and the Rogue River VFW Post 4116 to prepare a grant application to assist with the memorial project. Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point is also rallying support for the project.

"Everybody we've talked to has been very positive and would like very much to have Central Point to be involved in honoring our fallen heroes," he said. "It would provide a place where families can come and recreate but also commemorate. And it would provide a nice connection between the Don Jones Park and (nearby) Central Point Cemetery."

Dates set for public input on the project include a Jan. 17 parks commission meeting and a council meeting on Jan. 24. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the City Hall council chambers. For details, contact the city at 664-3321.

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

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