City takes lead on Phase 2 of the Kingsport Veterans Memorial

City_News_49

KINGSPORT – As Kingsport Tomorrow reorganizes into an all-volunteer format, the City of Kingsport has transitioned into the lead agency for completion of Phase 2 of the Kingsport Veterans Memorial.

This location is an important City Park and we are pleased to continue partnering with the community to see this project through completion, Assistant City Manager Chris McCartt said Friday. We will continue fundraising efforts throughout most of 2015, but our goal is to be able to start construction and finish Phase 2 by Veterans Day this year.

The Memorial, located at J. Fred Johnson Park at the intersection of Fort Henry Drive and North Eastman Road, was dedicated on November 11, 2008. Phase one consisted of about 550,000 pounds of granite.

While much of the stone was procured from Georgia, the red granite pavers that will grace Phase 2 were quarried in India. This stone is only available in a limited quantity for the Memorial project.

The Memorial consists of six 7-bart tall black granite monoliths inscribed with the names of 373 fallen soldiers from the Kingsport area who gave their lives in service to our country from World War 1 through the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the opposite side, the monoliths bear maps of the theaters of operation where these soldiers served. Another section of the Memorial pays tribute to each branch of the Armed Services.

As part of the fund raising effort, Kingsport has contracted with Catherine Tucker, who headed up the paver fundraising effort for Kingsport Tomorrow.

Tucker will continue to sell the remaining 150 or so red granite pavers that will be placed in Phase 2. In all, 382 pavers will grace Phase 2, with each available for purchase at a cost of $200.

Paver inscriptions may be up to 60 characters in length. Each paver is 6 inches by 12 inches.

So far, Kingsport Tomorrow has raised about $200,000 of the $400,000 necessary to fully fund Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 2 of the project is a granite plaza to provide a seating area for events, Tucker said. It will be made of gray granite like the walkways in the Memorial, with the pavers outlining it. If someone has expressed interest, but not yet made payment, its critical that they get in touch with me soon to complete the transaction. Otherwise, the pavers will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.

The project will also improve site drainage and landscaping. The seating plaza will be located towards the playground area currently in place at J. Fred Johnson Park.

Donations raised by Kingsport Tomorrow generated $600,000 of the $862,000 original project cost, with the City funding the rest of the project.

At Tuesdays Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Sullivan County Commissioner Baxter Hood, who works with the bi-annual Liberty Celebration, presented the board with a $5,000 contribution for the memorial. The funding was generated by the Liberty Celebration.

Meanwhile, the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council is also urging all of its members to support the project in whatever manner possible, according to TC-MAC President Ernie Rumsby.

To order a paver or make a contribution to the Kingsport Veterans Memorial, please contact Catherine Tucker at 423-426-1215 or by email at tuckerc@ci.kingsport.tn.us.

A PDF sketch of the proposed addition can be viewed by clicking here.