Vet memorial doesn’t work well in family park

To the editor:

I was asked to accompany a friend to a Park & Rec Commission meeting back in March. Our concern was the expansion of the Vietnam Memorial that is now in German Park, we had heard that they wanted to add more benches and call that area Veteran’s Square. We had heard correct and we were there to express why we thought they should not, it really shouldn’t be there at all.

When German Park was under reconstruction many of us donated money toward that endeavor. The project was to create a family oriented park for music, arts, picnics, etc. It doesn’t involve any sports diamonds, fields and hoops, just quiet, green grass and areas for people to gather. I have been to two weddings, a baptism and other gatherings there, with the paths and flowers it is beautiful park.

Now they have put in a black slate monument with seven benches and the plans available that night had approximately 40 more black benches in a rectangle taking up the flat grassy area it is in. The Vet group that wants this also wants to cut down three trees, one is an ash so that is going anyway, but the other two are not. New Ulm has lost enough trees to ash borer, oak beetle and street construction much less for three more flags. The benches are stark, sharp black and shiny. In this area I have seen families put up croquet and other yard games. I have seen only one person there sitting and maybe contemplating or deep in thought, and then she scolded kids for jumping from one memorial bench to another. What did they think would happen when a memorial is put in 50′ from a playground with tables used for birthday parties and 40′ from Herby the Hedgehog. Kids will play and climb, that is just a fact of a park, stitches will eventually be needed with the way those benches were designed and made,

Why was that memorial put there? And, yes, a Vietnam Memorial was well over due and well deserved. But not in the middle of a family park. Other ideas — how about the big green space right when you turn into the cemetery, near the avenue of flags, in a place where people go to seek quiet and solitude. Or, why can’t the Vet group work with the county and put it on the side of the courthouse that already has an area dedicated to all Brown County veterans and the Veterans of Foreign wars. There is also the whole half block on the other side of the courthouse that is all grass and has already a memorial to the Pioneers of Brown County, visitors can stop there and see all the important memorials for the area.

At the meeting in March, one of the Vets said “just think how nice that will be when the flags are lit up and everyone that drives up or down 3rd north will see those flags”. Well, I don’t know how many visitors to town drive between German and Valley Street but a whole lot more drive on Center Street past the courthouse block.

The Vet group said there is money left from the initial donation and that is why they wanted to add the flags and more benches, why not use that money to move it to an appropriate and honorable spot in town and leave the park to be what is was initially intended to be. Moving it would then allow all the benches they want to add for others in the service to mankind fields, such as fire fighters, EMT, police, county sheriffs etc.

Maggie Schwab

New Ulm


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