Kingsport Veterans Memorial team in place

Matthew Lane • Feb 13, 2007 at 8:09 AM

KINGSPORT - The whole team is officially on board.

Kingsport Tomorrow held a meeting Monday morning where all of the team members for the Veterans Memorial project could meet face to face.

"It's taken us several months, but the whole team is on board," said Jim Erwin, project chairman.

Kingsport Tomorrow has worked for more than 18 months on building a new veterans memorial in front of J. Fred Johnson Park on Fort Henry Drive between the old Highway Patrol Building and Indian Court.

On deck for the project are:

•Kingsport architect Jim Henderson.

•Pat Breeding, Tim Lorimer and Hiram Rash with Kingsport-based GoinsRashCain, which will serve as project manager.

•Richard Griggs, president of Lexington Blue Granite Co. of Elberton, Ga.

•Hal Spoden of Kingsport, who will be the engineer for the project.

Erwin said most of the major players being from Kingsport would be a great benefit for the project.

"We wanted to make this as much a community project as anything," Erwin said.

Conceptual drawings of the proposed memorial were revealed in October and show a memorial of red, white and blue granite that includes a circular area with six 7-foot-tall granite tablets, one for each war from World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom, with two from World War II. The tablets will display the names of 349 fallen soldiers from Kingsport on one side and the map of the theater of operations on the other.

The memorial will also include a centered U.S. flag, which will remain lit at all times, benches, earth berms, and two walkways leading up to the circular area from each side. Granite pavers will line both sides of the walkway. The proposal calls for the reconfiguration of the existing parking lot and the construction of a new parking lot off Indian Court.

The project also calls for 2,000 granite pavers to lead up to the memorial, where people and veterans can inscribe messages, their name or the name of another veteran. The pavers cost $100 (for two lines) or $110 (for three lines) and can be purchased at the Kingsport Tomorrow office.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for July 23 - the day after Fun Fest - with a projected completion date of Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

Up next for the project: fund raising.

Kingsport Tomorrow officials have said the cost of the proposed memorial will range between $500,000 to $750,000 and be paid for through donations from local businesses and industry, grants from the state, and possibly the East Tennessee Foundation.

"The committee's (goal) is to keep it going and out in the community," Erwin said.

Kingsport Tomorrow plans to put a sign up on the site prior to Fun Fest and have a webcam installed at the site so people can watch the memorial take shape.

For more information, to donate money for the project or to purchase a paver go to www.kingsportveteransmemorial.org.

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