Council considers request for park sign

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The request was explained by George H. Schryer, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6088. Schryer and other area veterans were instrumental in bringing The Wall That Heals, a  half-size traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to Veterans Park in April 2010.

Schryer said the anticipated budget for the project is $37,239. In addition to the city being asked to contribute $10,000, Beaufort County has been asked to contribute $10,000 toward the project. The remaining amount needed for the sign would be raised by local veterans organizations and other groups, Schryer said.

This likeness depicts the proposed design for the sign at the entrance to Veterans Park. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

Those groups č VFW Post 6088, American Legion posts 15, 249, 263 and 313, American Legion Auxiliary and Disabled American Veterans – already have $4,500 to put toward the project, he said.

Schryer reminded the council that any money left over after paying the expenses to bring The Wall That Heals to Washington would be used to help pay for a sign at Veterans Park.

“As a veteran, I’m kind of embarrassed and I’m kind of upset that there’s no indication of what that park is designated for. I had a lot of people ask me, when we did have the wall here … where was Veterans Park,” Schryer said. “They didn’t know that was Veterans Park. And when I told them, they said, ‘Oh, that’s the one with all the flags there.’ Yeah, that’s what’s there. I think the veterans of Beaufort County deserve better.”

The proposed sign will be made with bricks. At one end, it will be 4 feet tall. The other end will be 12 feet tall. Atop the sign’s high end will be a sculpture of an eagle, which is 8 feet tall. That eagle will be made by David Turner, who designed and made the existing eagle sculpture at the park.

On one side of the sign, 24-inch-high letters made from cast aluminum will spell out “Veterans Park.” That side will be illuminated at night. On the other side of the sign, 18-inch-high letters will spell out “Freedom Is Not Free.” Also on that side, an 18-inch-by-24-inch bronze plaque will list “everyone who has ever contributed anything to the park,” Schryer said.

Councilman Doug Mercer, who supports the project, expressed his concerns for future projects at the park. Mercer said he had reviewed a packet

“My concern is what is going to be the ultimate design of this park. … Is this the last thing we are going to do?” Mercer said.

“No,” replied Schryer.

“I would like to see an ultimate design for what’s going to go there, so that we know where we are headed and what we are going to get,” Mercer said. “We get a piece here, a piece there and a piece somewhere else, and if we have a comprehensive plan, it I think it would be much easier for us to endorse a plan … to get you where you want to go. But I hate for you to come up here every other year for at least $1,000 for this or $15,000 for that and we still don’t know what we are ultimately going to wind up with.”

“This group has discussed that. … What we would like is a group sanctified by the City Council, saying this is the Veterans Park Commission … because we do have plans for further development down the road,” Schryer replied.

“That’s a great idea. … I think we ought to get a vision that we can all agree on and look to, and maybe we can form a committee under Parks and (Recreation) to follow through on this,” Mayor Archie Jennings said.

The expected dedication date for the sign is Veterans Day this year, Schryer said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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