The Community and Veterans Coordination Committee raised a decades-old discussion last week during a Hinesville Military Affairs Committee meeting about finding a location for a proposed veterans memorial.
The original proposed site for the suggested project placed it behind the Liberty County Development Authority building, according to the Sept. 26 HMAC meeting minutes.
Community and Veterans Coordination Committee Co-Chairman George Holtzman suggested they explore Bryant Commons as an alternative location for the proposed memorial.
“Being a veteran and Purple Heart recipient, I myself would like to see a memorial,” Holtzman said.
He said he intends to present the idea to the Joint Management Board, which oversees Bryant Commons. The next board meeting likely won’t be held until the end of November, board member Tom Ratcliffe confirmed.
“If they’re in agreement, we will move forward to locate the memorial there,” he said. “Once we get their approval and support, the next step would be to meet with the committee and see what their design concept would be.”
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said the coordination committee will examine its options “and come back with a plan and try to get it financed within a year.” According to HMAC meeting minutes, Thomas agreed to present the idea of locating the memorial near the Bryant Commons amphitheater to the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority.
“Once we decide on a location, then we would employ an architect or design person,” Holtzman said.
An earlier proposed location placed the memorial behind the LCDA building on Highway 84, he said. HMAC members commented this location would not be visible to the public and that parking would be limited.
Holtzman said the proposed project, which is in a preliminary planning stage, would encourage input and support from local veterans groups including the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Holtzman explained that early conceptual plans for the memorial included separate pillars for each major branch of military service, with a large wall engraved with the names of fallen soldiers. A cascade of water would flow over this wall, he said.
This design’s estimated cost was around $400,000 five years ago, Hinesville Assistant City Manager Ken Howard confirmed.
“I’m the one that made the comment we could keep the cost down by honoring those branches with flags rather than (separate) monuments,” Holtzman said. He said a new design could be similar to the monument at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.
Thomas said HMAC members also discussed the reasons for building a memorial in Hinesville, rather than on Fort Stewart.
“Sometimes it’s easier downtown when we have our annual events like Veterans Day and Memorial Day and that kind of thing,” he said.
HMAC members also discussed the idea of relocating the Fort Stewart Museum off post.
Access to a veterans memorial would be difficult for many if located at the Fort Stewart Museum on post, according to HMAC members as recorded in their meeting minutes.
The next HMAC meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Hinesville Police Department squad room.
For more information, go to www.cityofhinesville.org/HMAC.