Plans for Manheim’s Veterans’ Memorial Plaza progressing

By on October 4, 2017

 

This plan for Manheim’s Veterans’ Memorial Plaza was drawn up prior to the decision to include the Merchant Marine in the central plaza. The plan is being redesigned to include a flag for this branch of the service. (Sketch by David Christian)

 

Manheim’s plans for a Veterans’ Memorial Plaza are progressing. Fittingly, the plaza would be housed in Veterans Memorial Park.

Jim Williams, chair of the committee and a veteran himself, explained that it would be located to the north of an existing cannon near a small parking lot off Memorial Drive.

“Our goal is to construct a memorial that honors our veterans while also providing a venue for reflection on those who have served,” he said.

Other committee members are Joel Mutschler, Jodie Hollinger, Walter Gerhart, Lyle Cunningham, Dick Martin, Mary Ellen Enterline, and George Schwartz.

The proposed site is also near a secondary entrance to the Manheim Central football stadium, so it’s a highly visible location. Williams pointed out that the area by the cannon is also a gathering point for the Memorial Day festivities in the borough, which are hosted by the Manheim VFW and the Manheim American Legion.

Consolidation

Currently there are several memorials recognizing veterans’ efforts scattered throughout the borough and surrounding areas. These memorials would be united in one location and incorporated into the plaza’s design.

One of the existing memorials is located on the Main Street side of Fulton Bank’s Manheim branch on Market Square. Another is on the site of the former Manheim Central middle school, 123 E. Gramby St. The school recently served students as Doe Run on Gramby. It’s slated to be razed in the next month to make way for a new elementary school that’s tentatively called the Gramby Street Elementary School. Manheim Central business manager Bryan Howett said the veteran’s memorial was recently moved so it’s not damaged during the construction project. It’s being stored until the plaza is constructed.

A sketch plan featuring preliminary design for the memorial plaza was created by landscape architect Dave Christian of David Christian and Associates in 2015 with input from representatives of the Manheim VFW Post, Manheim Legion and Manheim 250 — the committee that organized the borough’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2012. Williams said that design, with some minor modifications, is what continues to be proposed for the memorial plaza.

The plaza, which would be shaped like a gear, would be raised out of the ground. It would contain a U.S. flag in a central stage area and individual flagpoles and flags for each branch of the service: Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Merchant Marine. A gazebo in the center of the plaza would contain a memorial containing names of veterans that’s currently located in the hall outside the borough office. A seating wall is planned along the edge of the plaza. A textured concrete walkway would connect the plaza to the parking lot, a walkway to the stadium and Memorial Drive. The area containing the U.S. flag and portions of the walkways would be surrounded by 8-inch by 8-inch donor bricks that would be sold to help raise funds for the project.

The sketch plan for the memorial plaza is posted on the borough’s website, manheimboro.org.

The war memorial that had been located on the site of the former Manheim Central middle School (2014 photo). Since the school is being demolished to make way for a new elementary school on the site, the memorial has been removed and is being stored by the school district until it can be incorporated into a new Veterans Memorial Plaza. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Inclusion

Williams said the original plan did not include the Merchant Marine. Area residents suggested that this branch of the service be included in the plaza.

“We had a lot of discussion about this and did some research. We found that the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County includes the Merchant Marine, and Congress recognizes those who served on ocean going vessels in the Merchant Marine during World War II as veterans,” Williams explained.

The plaza’s design also incorporates a permanent location to house the time capsule filled with items gathered during the 250th anniversary celebration. It has not yet been buried since the borough was seeking a location for it.

Origins

The idea for the plaza was first discussed in October 2015. Manheim borough council president Carol Phillips, who also served on the Manheim 250 committee, said the idea originally came from Manheim 250 members.

“Manheim 250 was organized for the borough’s 250th anniversary celebration (in 2012). There’s a strong sense among our committee that we need to recognize those who serve and have served their country,” she said.

Estimated cost for the project is $200,000. Phillips said Manheim 250 plans to donate its remaining funds, about $15,000, to the project. In July, borough council agreed to contribute $1,500 to help the veterans memorial committee establish a website. Williams said the committee, which has been established as a 501(c)(3) organization, is preparing to launch a campaign seeking donations for the project. Donations may be in the form of sponsorships or the purchase of personalized bricks.

Bricks are available in two sizes: a 4-inch by 8-inch brick for $75; and an 8-inch by 8-inch brick for $125.

For more information, or to obtain a form to purchase a brick, contact Jim Williams at 717-341-2677.

Currently located outside the Fulton Bank on Market Square, this veterans memorial is slated to be united with several other Manheim area veterans memorials as part of a Veterans Memorial Plaza to be constructed in Veterans Memorial Park.

Time capsule

Representatives from the Veterans Memorial committee will be attending the borough’s ceremony to bury the Manheim 250 time capsule.

The ceremony will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, near the cannon off Memorial Drive in Veterans Memorial Park. The time capsule location is incorporated in the Veterans Memorial Plaza plan. The plan will also be on display during the ceremony.

Manheim Borough council president Carol Phillips said the ceremony will serve as the official kickoff for the plaza’s capital campaign.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

One Comment

  1. Sheila M Sova

    October 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for honoring the WWII Merchant Marine on this monument. My goal is to make every monument do the same thing! They manned the guns when the Navy Armed Guards were shot and I know personally many that did this. One was in a convoy behind a ship carrying mustard gas that was banned in WWII. These guys delivered 97% of munitions and lost more men than any branch per capita. Check it out at usmm.org They are heroes too! Sheila M. Sova Proud daughter of a USMMWWII & Army Korea Veteran.

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