Location Divides Supporters of Veterans Memorial

Posted at: 07/08/2014 11:01 PM
Updated at: 07/09/2014 11:30 AM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- A group of veterans in Clear Lake, Iowa, want to build a new veterans memorial, but in a seemingly unlikely turn, the project is being met with some resistance.

“We feel we have a very good plan to work with,” said Mike Nelson, commander of VFW Post #4868 in Clear Lake.

Nelson is helping lead the push for the new memorial, and he said the site, a narrow green space along the water’s edge, would be the perfect place for the large granite slabs that are to be engraved with the names of local soldiers.

"It's very accessible. There's a lot of foot traffic, a lot of bike traffic, a lot of out of town visitors,” Nelson said. “I think the veterans deserve that kind of recognition."

But not everyone is so keen on the idea.

"That's one of our favorite walking spots, is right on the lake. It's so beautiful,” said Cheryl Schurtz, who opposes the memorial site.

Both she and her friend Marilyn Schwab have ties to the V.A. clinic, and they said they want to find a way to honor veterans while preserving the waterfront in its current state.

"Our veterans are the most important thing to us right now and we need to continue to support them,” Schwab said.

"There is no one who supports veterans more than we,” Schurtz said. “However, the landscape of Clear Lake is so important and it's so beautiful, and both of us really feel that there's some other place that we could honor our veterans and not interrupt the water view."

Several other residents expressed their support for the memorial, but said they also feel there are other, better spots in the community that would be just as prominent without imposing on the lake's recreation area.

But Nelson and supporters of the lakefront site said the memorial's design would have little impact on people's views of the lake.

"You can look around it, you can look through it, you can look over it,” Nelson said. “But I don't think it's going to impact the view of the lake in any way, shape, or form."

The memorial site is still being considered by the city's Park and Recreation Advisory Board which could choose to move ahead with the plan as is, or choose another site altogether.