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Freedom Park moves forward

Manawa DAV makes donation to city

By Holly Neumann

With a $2,500 donation from the Disabled American Veterans of Manawa Chapter 53, plans for the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park begin to unfold.

“I went to city council about two years ago and asked to use the old swimming beach area for a veteran’s park,” said Mayor John Smith. “A committee formed and did the early leg work. Now we have formed another committee and it progressed from there.”

According to Smith it will be a complete project.

“It will include a new shelter house, pier and fishing docks that will all be handicap accessible,” said Smith. “It will also have playground equipment and a splash pad.”

The current layout shows a bridge from the family area to the memorial area.

There people will find an octagon shaped memorial containing the names of honorable discharged service members, with a pentagon in the center holding an emblem for each of the five branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

“It won’t be a drive-by memorial,” said Smith. “We are making our park a destination area.”

The hope is that families will come here to use the playground and splash pad and then go to the memorial to see all the sacrifices that have been made.

“It’s not just the soldiers, it’s the families of those soldiers that made sacrifices as well,” Smith said.

Lee Bertram, who serves on the park committee, believes that it is important to recognize those who have served.

“I was in the service, my father, grandfather, my brother – we’re all in the service,” he said. “I think it is important to recognize why we are able to do the things we are able to do. I think sometimes people just dismiss the military. If it wasn’t for those people dying for our rights, we would not be able to live the way we live.”

The completed project is estimated to cost is between $650,000 and $825,000.

Anyone wishing to donate can mail checks directly to Premier Community Bank, PO Box 308, Manawa, WI 54949.

“The hope is that time and materials will be donated to the project as well,” Smith said.

Questions regarding the park can be directed to John Smith at 920-284-2782 or stop at city hall between 7-9 a.m., Lee Bertram at 920-538-2276 or Darry Abraham at 920-410-1305.

There will be several upcoming fundraising including a fishery, a four-wheeler raffle and trap-shoot banquet.

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