A group of volunteers is raising funds to create a veterans memorial park in Huntley.
The newly formed Huntley Area Veterans Foundation is reaching out to area businesses and residents for donations. The group also is working to get its nonprofit status approved and is negotiating with the village of Huntley to secure a location for the memorial park.
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"The first phase is going to cost about $275,000," said foundation President Dawn Ellison, 58, of Huntley, a supervisor for the U.S. Postal Service in Hoffman Estates.
A day after the foundation's first board meeting, the group received a donation of $2,500 from the Huntley Senior Citizens Club, she said.
That includes money to purchase the land and build the memorial, and for accents, such as electrical wiring, flagpoles, lighting, walking paths, benches and gardens.
The memorial would be made of black granite standing 25 feet tall and curved with seven connected monuments representing branches of the military, she said.
"We haven't quite come up with the design yet," Ellison said.
A future second phase would include two granite monuments dedicated to prisoners of war and those missing in action, and Purple Heart honorees.
Group officials are eyeing a site just west of Huntley village hall, 10987 Main St., and have requested the village board's permission to use the land.
"It's a beautiful spot. It's got a nice pond," Ellison said. "We're very pleased with the response from the village. We should find out July 24 at the village board meeting."
Neighboring Lake in the Hills also is working on a similar veterans memorial next to its village hall.
Ellison has envisioned creating a veterans memorial in Huntley for years.
"I have almost 26 veterans in my family," she pointed out.
Her great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War, her grandfather served in World War I, her father served in World War II, several uncles served in World War II and the Korea and Vietnam wars, and a few cousins served in Afghanistan and Iraq. None of them lost their lives in combat, she said.
"We're very lucky. ... Because of what these guys do, we can live like we do," Ellison said.
The Huntley area has a number of veterans who are excited about the prospect of having a memorial close to home, she said.
"There's a lot of interest in the project," she said. "We're going to have engraved bricks. We will be selling those as a way of raising funds. We hope to do a USO (United Service Organizations) dance. We hope to do concerts."
Ellison said a couple of contractors already have offered their services. Group leaders hope to have the memorial dedicated Nov. 11, 2015.