LUMBERTON — City leaders once more are charging forward with plans to build a memorial park to pay tribute to people who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Schematic and design processes are underway to construct a 1.1-acre park on a lot northeast of the traffic circle at East Elizabethtown Road and North Water Street, the location of the Robeson County Board of Elections, and across from the old county jail. The park will be designed for use for celebrations on Memorial Day and Veterans Day and for monuments honoring each branch of America’s uniformed services.
The attempt is actually a reboot.
“The plans were delayed by Hurricane Matthew,” City Manager Wayne Horne said. “Now, two years later, the money has been rebudgeted and the idea brought back to the city.”
The City Council approved proceeding with the park concept during its recent annual planning workshop.
The design of the Lumberton facility was influenced by veterans parks in other areas. Preliminary work is being done by Crawford Design in Fayetteville.
“We took a look at the park in Fayetteville, and the one in Mt. Airy,” said Brandon Love, director of Planning & Neighborhood Services. “We’ve taken design cues from both.”
The city is getting the conceptual process underway, Love said. But construction costs and a timeline haven’t been determined.
“We’re at the schematic phase,” Love said. “We have to tighten the design, and then get a cost for that.”
The budget for the site renovation work, sidewalks and utility improvement work is $75,000, Horne said.
“This could increase,” he said. “We don’t have any other numbers at this time.”
The monuments to be placed at the park will be a joint city/county project, Horne said.
City Attorney Holt Moore said other veterans parks have monuments sponsored by different groups.
“There are a variety of costs involved,” Moore said. “There were several sponsored monuments in Fayetteville. I don’t know the costs to handle these.”
The city has asked and receive approval from the county for space near the Robeson County Administration Building for parking. The county is moving out of those offices and into the BB&T building, which is being renovated.
The lease is for a dollar a year.
“The plan now is to cover the parking lot, but not touch the roundabout,” Robeson County Manager Ricky Harris said. “It’s mainly a city project, but we will participate. We work well together.”
The park will be an additional attraction to the downtown area, Love said.
“It’s part of the overall effort to redevelop downtown,” Moore said. “We need to rehabilitate unused space, and to create downtown as a destination.”
The park will more than a place to honor the nation’s war dead and veterans.
“There will be an opportunity for celebrations, school field trips to see the park and the courthouse, and tourists coming to see military parks,” Moore said.
Reach David Bradley at 910 416 5182 or [email protected]