A drawing shows the planned perimeter fence around the Veterans Memorial.
Brenda Barnette likens the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial to a beautiful painting that lacks a bold and grand frame surrounding it.
But Barnette, who chairs the Memorial Committee, said there are plans to add this finishing touch. Efforts that will lead to the construction of a perimeter fence to surround the memorial are now under way.
The memorial was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2011, and was built with the aid of city, county and state funding. The first phase of the memorial included the installation of black granite, which is inscribed with the names of those who served and returned to their families. Red granite panels to honor those killed in action, missing in action and prisoners of war are also a component of the memorial.
Barnette said committee members were hoping to secure state funding for the second phase of the project, the installation of the perimeter fence. While Barnette said state funding did not come through, she said the committee saw it as an opportunity to add greater significance to the phase by realizing its completion through private donations.
“We understand that, we’re not bitter,” Barnette said of the lack of state funding, “but we didn’t want to hold up the construction of the phase II any longer, so that’s when we decided to begin a campaign for private donations to build this fence.”
The 6-foot-tall fence surrounding the nearly 1-acre memorial will be held in place by 15 pylons, which will each be around 7 feet high. Barnette said the committee is now accepting donations from those interested for a fence panel, for $750, or a pylon, which is a $1,000 donation. Those who donate will have a personalized metal plate placed on either a section of fencing or a pylon, depending upon their donation. Barnette said there will be a total of 86 plaques.
“The beauty of all of this is the citizens of Johnson City and Washington County have the opportunity to put a perpetual message to their beloved veterans on that plaque,” Barnette said.
The purpose of the fence, Barnette said, will not be to keep people out, but instead invite them into the space to explore the memorial and reflect upon what each inscribed name represents.
Barnette said Bradley’s Machine & Welding is overseeing the construction of the perimeter fence, which is estimated to cost around $67,000. As part of the second phase, Bradley’s will also donate its resources to construct an archway reading “Veterans Memorial Park” at the corner of Veterans Way and West Market Street.
Barnette said the committee hopes work on the second phase will begin by the Veterans Day program at the memorial, which is set to be held Nov. 11 beginning at 1 p.m. and that enough donations have already been obtained to begin work. She said members of the committee initially looked at installing chain-link fencing, but opted to have it constructed from a heavy-duty material.
Those interested in donating may call the Memorial Committee at 483-1814.