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Future Changes to Vets Memorial Upsets Vets
COLUMBUS (Ken Hines/Kate Liebers) -- Franklin County Commissioners have approved a plan to include a rebuilt Veterans Memorial in a development project along the Scioto River.
Despite push-back from some groups of veterans, Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a lease agreement with the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation that paves the way for the construction of the new memorial.
The facility will be part of a 56 acre Franklinton-area project that also includes a park, mixed use cultural center, and Columbus Zoo extension.
The recently approved plan will likely include the demolition of the current Vets Memorial in Downtown Columbus.
The group of veterans opposing the demolition said they were shut out of the dialogue over the building's fate.
"The homeless, the jobless the financially challenged aren't included in this plan anywhere," veteran John Dreska said. "There's no office space for our current services at the memorial location and this is how we honor our veterans."
They presented an alternative plan to renovate that building, but the proposal was rejected due to its estimated initial $30-million price tag. The county is to pay $3 million for plan calling for the building's demolition, with private donors covering the rest of the bill.
Offices and memorabilia currently housed inside the soon-to-be razed building will be moved to Memorial Hall on E. Broad Street, the site of the original Franklin County Veterans Memorial. Developers plan to include five satellite offices in the new memorial that will provide services to the county's veterans, according to commissioners.