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Plans For Fallen Veterans' Memorial Continually Evolving

Newest favored concept involves a 'courtyard of honor' in downtown Kent.

Plans for a fallen veterans’ memorial prompted by the May 28 death of of Kent continue to evolve, with city officials now considering the creation of a downtown plaza area featuring flags representing each branch of the military.

City Manager Dave Ruller updated members Wednesday on the progress of evolving plans made by . The committee was created in June not long after Hamilton, a 2007 graduate, was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

Since summer, memorial ideas have included naming or a section of bike trail after Hamilton. Ruller said when the committee last met, there was talk of creating a memorial of some sort at near the dam.

Since then, Ruller and Mayor Jerry Fiala have met with Hamilton’s father, , and Ruller has spoken by phone with Hamilton’s mother, . Ruller said Hamilton’s parents both favor a memorial honoring all veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

And, Ruller said he agreed with their suggestion that such a memorial be created in a more visible location than Heritage Park.

That led officials to consider the triangular parcel of land that will be bounded by Haymaker-Parkway, Erie Street and the new now under construction on DePeyster Street.

Ruller said officials from PARTA, which is currently building the just across Erie from the hotel, had already designated that triangular parcel as a park-like area featuring some type of art work to tie in with Kent State’s “Art Walk along Sculpture Mile.” The university’s new will enter the downtown nearby.

Ruller said John Drew, general manager, is “very interested in continuing conversations” about using the triangular parcel for a veterans’ memorial, and that Scott Hamilton thought the idea was “fantastic.”

Fiala said the memorial concept currently in favor involves a plaza area with flagpoles representing each branch of the military, similar to the brick “courtyard of honor” that is just one aspect of the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury, Ohio. Benches would allow visitors to sit and reflect.

Fiala said the Sunbury courtyard is “more tastefully done” then the Portage County Veterans' Memorial Plaza located in the front lawn of the Portage County Courthouse in Ravenna.

Ruller said he’s looking into funding for the memorial, and that Scott Hamilton said he would help with a fundraising campaign.

“As the mayor noted, the key to all of this seems to be respectfully, tastefully done – something that’s really worthy of the loss that those families have (undergone),” Ruller said.

Community input on the memorial plans is something city officials welcome, particularly from veterans and veteran organizations, Ruller pointed out.

jt February 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Regarding the current design ideas and picture shown in the article- an open competition for the memorial would be extremely important to hold. This provides an opportunity for the community to seek out hundreds of ideas and select the most thoughtful solutions to consider.  At the very least a competition might yield a solution that is respectful and possibly tasteful. This process requires defining a quality brief, setting a due date and posting this to regarded competition websites. This process is free to the community as you can define an entry fee to cover administration of the competition, and you can even add a disclaimer that you don't need to build any solution proposed. What do you have to lose. -jason
Alex Demyan February 07, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I think the veteran's memorial is a great idea. Kent State University is known for their great Veteran's program. I am sure there are thousands of Kent city residents and Kent State University Students who would be willing to contribute to a memorial fund raising campaign. Adam Hamilton among thousands of other veterans touched so many lives before sacrificing their own. This memorial would provide the respect and recognition they deserve everyday. A memorial is the least we can do as a community.

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