Monette Veteran's Park planning underway

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Monette Veteran's Park Committee met Jan. 18 in Monette City Hall to discuss plans and progress concerning the development of the Veteran's Park to be established in downtown Monette.

Monette Veteran's Park Committee members are Henrietta Qualls, Vickie Carroll, Linda Qualls, Jerry "Chub" Qualls, Barber Suber, Ronnie Qualls, Kathy Qualls, Larry Rolland, Byron Sparkman, Nan Snider and Harrell Damron. (Town Crier photo/Tiffany Gadberry)

Henrietta Qualls read minutes from the meeting held Nov 16. Following approval of the minutes the Committee followed up on previously set tasks and continued arranging plans.

The committee discussed a location anticipated to be the future home of the veteran's park. The first possible location was a 25 x 90 foot property donated to the city of Monette by Clay and Kima Stewart. Philip Duffel, the owner of adjacent property, offered any unused land to add to the park. Following a discussion with Duffel on Jan. 18, Qualls shared with the committee that zoning was still being determined and Duffel was unsure of any details concerning the amount of space to be left for the park as of yet.

The committee then decided to continue with tentative planning based on the known footage of the property donated by the Stewarts. Adjustments would be made when more definitive answers were heard from Duffle.

During the Nov. meeting the committee agreed to invite Byron Sparkman to attend the Jan. meeting and sketch park and landscaping designs. Sparkman was in attendance and shared print outs of space to scale in order to get an idea of what the Committee would be working with. Sparkman also brought to the committee's attention the addition of sidewalks and curbs may retract from the park by five to six feet.

During discussions an alternate location owned by the city on the northeast corner of the downtown intersection of Highway 139 and Highway 18 was brought about. The committee considered benefits of the change in venue. Along with water and electricity established, the committee noted benefits for landscaping as well as an existing sidewalk and curb. Using the more established location may not only save money but enable construction to begin sooner.

It was decided that a representative for the committee will attend the Jan Monette city council meeting to request use of the land. The committee suggested the land given by the Stewarts and Duffle be used for parking or to relocate activities held at the intersection such as holiday decorating. Mayor Jerrry "Chubb" Qualls agreed to represent the committee during the next city council meeting in request that the city allow the park to be built in the new location.

In earlier meetings the Committee decided to publish and distribute a letter to local merchants and add information to water bills acknowledging the park in hopes of raising awareness for the project. Nan Snider composed a letter approved by the Committee with the request for one change. The word memorial was to be omitted. The change was discussed in Nov to address concerns that living veterans would be excluded in a memorial. The committee will distribute the literature when more details are established.

The Committee also discussed ideas and prices concerning the addition of names. One suggestion being names and information be etched on a granite structure. Another suggestion considered was to etch information into bricks used in the construction of walls and sidewalks as seen in other parks visited by members.

An example form was adjusted to include a line for donations, additional veteran information and updated prices. The committee requested that Henrietta Qualls research prices of etchings at the time of park construction as well as any requirements or fees necessary to add names and information in the future. Once the prices are known, forms will be adjusted and the purchase of space for names and information can begin. The committee plans to reserve money to ensure those who may not have funds will be included.

The committee voted to complete paperwork and requirements in order to be established as a nonprofit organization. As nonprofit the committee can ensure that donations be tax deductible and will begin looking into grants in the near future.

A BBQ chicken dinner prepared by the Masons to raise funding was scheduled from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday. Jan. 23.

Harrell Damron spoke with Mayor Qualls and the committee of the Delta Bridge Project and suggested contact for possible involvement in the park.

The next Veteran's Park Committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at City Hall.

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