On the level: Local craftsman wants to fix leaning veterans monument

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Tom Woodruff of Downriver Stone Design has volunteered to straighten out the Veterans Memorial in Wyandotte’s Bishop Park. Residents recently have noticed that the monument is leaning toward the river.

Sunday Times Herald

WYANDOTTE – Tom Woodruff has offered his “level” best to perpetuate the honor of his fellow veterans.

The city resident and original craftsman of the monument in Bishop Park asked City Council members Monday for permission to relevel it at no charge.

Downriver Stone Design, the company he manages, crafted the black granite monument 25 years ago. It since has begun to settle and lean toward the Detroit River, Woodruff told the council, adding that his fix would use epoxy or concrete and be only temporary, because the monument’s foundation is failing.

Mayor Joseph Peterson asked Woodruff if he could help determine what might be needed to address the underlying cause of the tilting.

Woodruff said he’s been told that the area near the riverfront is all landfill, and that it is “settling a little bit more than anybody anticipated.” He said because his company did not install the monument’s foundation, he was unsure of its depth, but that the four granite pavers around the monument rest on a bed of gravel. Councilman Daniel Galeski called for a study by City Engineer Mark Kowalewski and Special Projects Coordinator Natalie Rankine, who also is an architect, and for the two to report to the council in two weeks on the feasibility of a permanent fix. Galeski also asked them to keep Woodruff apprised of the situation.

Councilman Lawrence Stec asked if the veterans monument would have to be moved should officials proceed with a proposed marina near that location. Galeski said he didn’t think so, but deferred to Kowalewski, who declined to say on record whether moving the monument might be necessary if marina plans move forward.

The engineer then asked for three weeks to study the situation and report back; Galeski concurred.
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Councilman Leonard Sabuda said another memorial, the World War I boulder monument near the Bishop Co-op Apartments, also may need repairs. He said the “wreath” of concrete around the granite boulder is cracked and called for it to be fixed “before something happens.”

Stec said he has heard the same concerns.

“The boulder itself and the bronze plaque that’s on it are fine, they’re in good shape,” Woodruff said of the World War I monument. “It’s the foundation, the pedestal that it’s sitting on (that is cracked).”

Galeski suggested that the city’s Monument Commission make the World War I memorial a project for next year.