By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A new Veterans Park will be created here by next May to honor all soldiers who have served in the U.S. military.
The project will also include the current War Memorial, which is located outside the former City Hall, which honors only soldiers who lost their lives in wars since World War I.
“We hope to have the new park completed before Memorial Day next May,” Public Information Director Mary Laundroche said.
The city plans to have the Veterans Park outside Henry Ford Centennial Library where the fountain currently sits.
“The park will allow us to transform the space now occupied by the inoperable fountain into a worthy landmark for our city,” Laundroche said. “The library is part of our central municipal complex and attracts plenty of visitors who can pay their respects to our veterans as they go in and out of the library which is convenient for people who want to make the Veterans Park a destination.”
The new Veterans Park comes after Artspace bought the former City Hall complex for it’s loft project including 53 units of affordable live-and-work space for artists and their families.
The city moved its operations to a more central location last year, the Dearborn Administrative Center.
The current war memorial established in May 1991 features four megaliths with names of the soldiers from Dearborn killed in World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
“The move out of City Hall means the property the current War Memorial sits on no longer belongs to the city,” Laundroche said. “So, this is an opportunity to create something appropriate for the war memorial and expand it into a Veterans Park, so that those who died for our country and all those who served can be honored.”
Earlier this month, the city hired the firm Neumann/Smith Architecture to create the design for Veterans Park.
“We are gathering input from the veterans and researching possible design elements,” Laundroche said. “It is hoped a final design will be approved by the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council and the city administration this fall.”
AK Steel contributed $1 million for the creation of a Veterans Park as its lone source of funding.
“It is possible that there will also be a fundraising campaign for additional elements,” Laundroche said. “For example, bricks with names in honor to a veteran or to someone who died in service to our country, but that has not been determined.”
The new park will continue to represent veterans and the city.
“The Veterans Park will be a significant and visible way that Dearborn can show our ongoing respect to all who have served in the military,” Laundroche said. “Dearborn is known for our patriotism, and for our memorials, monuments and ceremonies honoring and remembering our veterans and those who died.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)