The Hinesville Military Affairs Committee has begun planning for November’s Veterans Salute and March 2016’s International Car Show, which will once again coincide with the Small World Festival at Bryant Commons Park.
The committee did not meet in February and will not meet again until June 22, when members will begin finalizing plans for the 3rdAnnual Veterans Salute and, hopefully, a ribbon-cutting for the Veterans’ Memorial Walk.
“I’m still hoping the veterans’ memorial will be ready by Veterans Day or shortly thereafter,” said Committee Chairman and City Councilman David Anderson, who also announced that $2,196 had been raised from the car show. “I’m also hoping this committee will continue to link the Small World Festival with our car show and raise funds for the memorial.”
The committee voted to hold the car show each year on the same day as the Small World Festival. The panel also decided to add $4 to the funds raised in this year’s show to be given to the Veterans’ Memorial Walk fund. Members also talked about conducting a kids’ fishing event to coincide with other events at Bryant Commons.
“HMAC needs to pat itself on the back for the car show,” said George Holtzman, who served as subcommittee chairman for the show. “Of course, we also need to thank God for a perfect weather day. People who wondered where Bryant Commons is found out that Saturday by seeing the line of cars turning in there.”
Holtzman said that with funds raised from the car show, plus “pavers” that have been purchased by members of the community, the total amount raised for the memorial is about $109,000. He said he and P.C. Simonton Engineer Marcus Sack met last week with leaders of Fort Stewart’s 92ndEngineer Battalion about helping with the memorial. The legal requirements were all but settled to allow these heavy equipment engineers to do the clearing for the memorial as part of their normal training exercises, he said.
Mayor Jim Thomas added that the work the engineers will do equates to $175,000 in direct costs savings. When asked by P.J. Schneider about the cost of maintenance of the memorial after it’s completed, Thomas said maintenance of the entire park would be the responsibility of the city as part of a 50-year agreement with the Bryant Family Foundation.
Thomas also talked about plans to realign the entrance of the park to Ryon Avenue and build an entrance and exit that restricts the entrance and exit to right turns only.
Schneider also asked about a temporary sign to mark the site of the memorial in the park, while several other members asked about putting up a large digital sign at the park’s entrance. He said formal approval wasn’t necessary for HMAC to put up signs inside the park, but he would ask the City Council about changing the zoning ordinance to allow for the digital sign. The digital sign would be larger than the banner sign currently on the fence at the entrance, and it would allow for advertising of events at the park.
Given the success of the car show, a suggestion was made to have a motorcycle show as part of this year’s veterans’ salute. Barbara Martin van Duser warned that some members of motorcycle clubs have a reputation for misbehaving and could disrupt a family event like the Veterans Salute.
Thomas advised that the committee set strict rules of participation and behavior, to include noise control. Schneider said they the bike show would have to be held in an area with a solid foundation or a solid platform on which to park the bikes would have to be provided.
Other business included an invitation to support the April 3 Good Friday Walk for Shelter and the April 15 Relay for Life. New members welcomed included Clint Walden, Raymond Dent and William Hemingway.