The Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial will carry the names of any Oregon serviceman or woman killed since Oregon became a state in 1859.

Fundraising under way for Central Point war memorial

CENTRAL POINT — Supporters of a proposed war memorial that would be built in a city park are gearing up to reach a $40,000 fundraising goal in a little over a week.

State Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, is rallying support from Southern Oregon residents with hopes of seeing the Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial project completed before year's end. The memorial, which could cost as much as $250,000, would be located in Don Jones Memorial Park on Hamrick Road.

With a $90,000 war memorial grant available at the state level, Richardson and other memorial supporters have vowed to raise a $40,000 startup fund by Feb. 1, followed by another $40,000 by March. Richardson said organizers hope to break ground by Memorial Day and open the memorial to the public on Nov. 11, Veteran's Day.

Richardson, a Vietnam veteran, will be in Salem starting the first week in February as the state Legislature goes into session. He said he hopes the $40,000 startup fund will be assured by then, which is crucial in the application for the state grant.

A committee has formed to raise the $180,000 to $250,000 needed for the site, Richardson said.

"We're spending almost full time contacting individuals and organizations asking them to step forward and help make this memorial a reality," Richardson said.

"The city of Central Point has done marvelous things to promote it by allowing us to have it be built in the park. The VFW is very supportive. Now it's up to us, every one of us, to do our part to raise the money."

Slated to take up one quarter of an acre of the 8-acre city park (see correction note below), the memorial was initiated by longtime resident and professional event planner Marty Terrell, who said she was inspired by a similar memorial in Ohio.

Terrell is the mother of three Crater High School graduates who served in various branches of the military. She said she felt it was "important for the Rogue Valley to have a special place to honor its fallen soldiers."

If approved, the memorial would be tucked between the soon-to-be-built park and nearby Central Point Cemetery and would bear the names of fallen military members from Oregon who served in every war since 1859, when Oregon became a state.

Designed by Medford architect Gary Breeden, the memorial design resembles a wagon wheel with six circles on the outer ring and a pedestal at the center displaying a bronze eagle. Also at the center would be a ring of flags, one each for each service branch, and a large, lighted American flag.

One of several fundraising options calls for bricks for the courtyard to be purchased and engraved in honor of local veterans.

Terrell said she was pleased with the coummunity's reception of her idea.

"It's been a phenomenal experience and the support has been tremendous," she said. "We need more financial support, of course, but it's going to be such an amazing place."

When the idea was first proposed to the City Council in December, city officials assigned a committee to review any impacts the project would have on the park's master plan, much of which is the focus of other grant funding that is contingent on the park's design.

City Administrator Phil Messina said the council would review public comments and consider a recommendation to allow the memorial to proceed at the next council meeting at7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Correction: The original version of this story included incorrect sizes for the memorial and the park. This version has been corrected.

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