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Veterans group plans improvement project at Willmar's Flags of Honor

WILLMAR -- The Veterans Central Council has a vision for the Willmar Flags of Honor Memorial Park that includes a granite monument to honor all the armed services, a brick plaza and a re-designed layout for the flags.

Submitted art Proposed renovations at the Willmar Flags of Honor include a new monument and plaza, as well as a reduction in the number of flags. The Willmar City Council has OK'd the design, and the Veterans Central Council will raise funds for the estimated $225,000 project.
Submitted art Proposed renovations at the Willmar Flags of Honor include a new monument and plaza, as well as a reduction in the number of flags. The Willmar City Council has OK'd the design, and the Veterans Central Council will raise funds for the estimated $225,000 project.
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WILLMAR - The Veterans Central Council has a vision for the Willmar Flags of Honor Memorial Park that includes a granite monument to honor all the armed services, a brick plaza and a re-designed layout for the flags.

"It is a long overdue project we've been planning," said Brian Gislason, a member of the council. "It is something we have been planning for years."

Gislason, along with Willmar Public Works Director Sean Christensen, presented the concept design for the project to the Willmar City Council and it was approved last week.

The project will be paid entirely through donations. No project timeline has yet been set.

"We are not asking for anything from the city, except permission to go ahead with it," Gislason said, adding that the council has received a conservative estimate of about $225,000 for the project. "The businesses of Willmar are very generous when it comes to veterans projects."

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The proposed project would include replacing the current wood entrance sign with one made of granite; removing the existing monument and possibly using it in another location at the park; and creating a brick plaza. The bricks will be sold as a fundraiser for the project. The buyers will be able to personalize the bricks.

A new granite monument, commemorating all five branches of the United States military, will be placed at the top of the hill at the park, centrally located within the plaza.

"It will be a one-of-a-kind memorial," Gislason said.

The flags themselves will also be getting an upgrade. The number will be reduced from 100 to 50.

"We've never figured out why they put 100 out there. If we take 50 out, that would be one for each state," Gislason said.

The flags will be placed along each side of the walkway leading up to the monument and plaza.

"It looks wonderful, I appreciate all the work," Councilor Julie Asmus said.

The Veterans Central Council is a nonprofit veterans group made up of local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans chapters. They are annually part of the Memorial Day observances, and also brought the replica Vietnam Wall to Willmar.

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The City Council approval was unanimous and members shared their support for the renovations.

"It is a very beautiful design. I think it will be a highly functional park and a great improvement to the layout of the Flags of Honor," said Councilor Shawn Mueske.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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