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Elkhart Veterans' Park awarded Landmarks Illinois grant
Daily Ledger - 4/23/2018
April 22--The Village of Elkhart Veterans' Park renovation project has been awarded a Landmarks Illinois World War I Monument Preservation Grant for World War I monuments/memorials that are in need of conservation, repair, stabilization or other restoration treatment.
Located in historic downtown Elkhart, the current Veterans' Park is home to a WWI Doughboy statue that was presented to the Village by the returning veterans of World War I in honor of the men who did not return from that war. Since then, plaques have been added to the statue with the names of Village veterans from WWII, the Korean War and all veterans killed in action from Elkhart during past wars.
To be awarded this grant, it was determined that the village's Doughboy statue showed architectural, historical and cultural significance to the state, region, and community.
Elkhart's Veterans' Park was created by Susan K. Green in 1977 to honor veterans on behalf of her sister, Elizabeth Drake. Both were grandchildren of the wife of Richard Oglesby, who was a three term Governor of Illinois, as well as veteran of the Mexican American War and a Civil War general. Elkhart's WWI Doughboy statue is listed in the Illinois statewide survey of monuments to soldiers and veterans of the Great War and is an "Order Arms" Doughboy statue.
"This grant will be used for the cleaning and repair of the WWI Doughboy statue and for the restoration of the Veterans' Park site," said Lois Olson, President of Elkhart's Need and Goals (NAG) group. "This work includes the park's foundational base, electricity, plumbing and drainage, and renovation work -- all of which will prepare for showcasing the WWI Doughboy statue at the park entrance." NAG was formed in 1984 and has been the "caretaker" of the current Veterans' Park for many years.
The Landmarks Illinois WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program, launched in 2017, provides funding to WWI outdoor monuments and memorials in Illinois in need of restoration to recover their dedication-era quality and appearance. This program is made possible with generous support from the Pritzker Military Foundation.
"We are very grateful to Landmarks Illinois for this grant," said Janice Funk, NAG's Project Manager for the park renovation. "The project will ensure that the park is handicap accessible with a safe, stable surface. The reflective sitting wall and benches will be used by veterans in the Village, living in or visiting Logan County, and their families and friends. And the park will provide a place for community events -- and a pleasant stop for tourists who travel through Elkhart on Rt. 66."
"Volunteer help, landscaping plants and monetary donations are needed to complete the work," said Peggy Lee, Village of Elkhart Trustee. Donations can be made to the Veterans' Park Fund and can be sent to PO Box 20, Elkhart, IL 62634.
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