CLINTON -- The city council and parks advisory board has spent the last five years attempting to raise enough money to place a large veteran's memorial stone and flagpole in Veteran's Park, located at 1000 West 1800 North.
However, the council has raised only one-third of the money needed for the project, raising merely more than $2,000 in donations. The city hoped to fund the project entirely from donations from residents and proceeds from the custom-engraved bricks being sold and placed around the stone as part of the memorial.
While the fundraising plans continue for the project, the city council has approved a plan to move forward with the memorial this spring. The city council voted unanimously in favor of using $4,500 from the city's general fund to complete the project.
The total cost for the project is $6,500. The city plans to continue its fundraising efforts even after the project is finished and refund the city's general fund.
Several city council members agreed they didn't like using money from the general fund as a loan for the project; however, they could see the benefit of moving forward on the project.
"This has been a long, drawn-out process, and I hate to see this going on longer, especially as we fear those who have donated will ask us to give them their money back because we're not doing anything with it," said councilwoman Joanne Hansen, the city council representative on the parks advisory board. "We've done everything we could for the last five years, but the veterans need something. There have been enough lives given that it would be a disservice to our veterans if we didn't do it."
One resident, Deborah Barlow, expressed concerns about the loan.
"I think it is such a noble way the funds have been raised so far, but now everyone would be contributing through taxes," said Barlow. "I know it has been slow, but in the spirit of this memorial, we do what we can and it is not an impossible endeavor for a government entity to do that."
Councilman Blair Bateman responded by saying it would only be equivalent to about 25 cents per resident.
Representatives from the parks advisory board reassured the city council that they are confident the funds would be paid back.
Mayor Mitch Adams said the city is continually putting improvements into the parks, and considers the memorial expense a similar type of cost.