While additional fundraising is needed, the group working to bring a Veterans Memorial to downtown Roselle is moving ahead with plans to break ground next month.
American Legion Post 1084 in Roselle has collected about $150,000 in donations for the memorial, which will be built in Depot Park along Irving Park Road at Park Street. At least another $50,000 must be raised to complete the project.
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Still, members of the Roselle Veterans Memorial Committee wanted to start construction, so they divided the work into two phases.
"We had a lot of people who donated," committee Chairman Don Smolinski said. "We wanted to take some action. We didn't want to delay it another eight months just because we didn't reach our (fundraising) goal."
American Legion members approached Roselle trustees with the idea for the memorial in August 2013. The village, which owns Depot Park, agreed to locate the memorial there.
Mayor Gayle Smolinski said the project seeks to honor all veterans.
"I see this as a living memorial to teach children about what it means to serve our country," she said.
The first phase of the project is expected to start in early October and be done by Veterans Day. It will include installation of the foundation, paver bricks and a circular pedestal for two future statues. Seven flagpoles for the American, POW, and military service flags also will be installed.
The bricks will include special "honor bricks" and "sponsor bricks" the American Legion is selling to raise money for the project.
The honor bricks, which bear the names of veterans, will be placed immediately surrounding the memorial. Sponsor bricks purchased by companies and individuals will be placed in other areas around the memorial.
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 16. At that time, the village is expected to formally change of the name of the park to Veterans Memorial Park, officials said.
In the meantime, the American Legion will focus on raising money to complete the centerpiece of the memorial.
The second phase calls for a "battle cross" (boots, rifle and helmet) statue and a "kneeling soldier" statue to be mounted on the pedestal.
"It's particular to the Iraq and Afghanistan war era," Don Smolinski said of the statues. "It's a very contemporary memorial rendering."
He said the statues will honor all the veterans who sacrificed their lives in service of our country.
Another part of the memorial is specifically meant to remember dead Roselle residents who served in the military. The names of those veterans will be inscribed on granite slabs that will be positioned between the flagpoles.
Don Smolinski said the goal is to have the statues and granite slabs completed and installed by Memorial Day.
Donations for the Veterans Memorial are being accepted through the Roselle American Legion Charitable Foundation. Checks made payable to RALCF can be mailed to RALCF, Attn: Veterans Memorial, 344 E. Maple Ave., Roselle, IL 60172.
Contributions also can be made online by visiting the American Legion Post 1084 website at post1084.net.
Honor bricks and sponsor bricks can be purchased by visiting rosellememorial.donationbricks.com.