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Funds needed for Veterans Wall maintenance

Photo by Johnny Jackson
Cracks have developed along the walkways around the Veterans Wall of Honor in McDonough. A county official says there is a need to develop a steady flow of funds to help maintain the monument in the future.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Cracks have developed along the walkways around the Veterans Wall of Honor in McDonough. A county official says there is a need to develop a steady flow of funds to help maintain the monument in the future.

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Small cracks are appearing in the concrete walkways of the Veterans Wall of Honor in McDonough. The wear and tear, according to county officials, points to the monument's need for constant funding support.

"The money is very tight," said Henry County Manager James "Butch" Sanders. "We are trying to find dollars wherever we can to help maintain the wall."

Sanders said officials are looking to put about $10,000 worth of work into the monument.

"We have pulled from different sources, including some landscaping and maintenance line items in the Parks and Recreation Department," he said.

The Henry County Parks and Recreation Department has been tasked with maintaining the Veterans Wall of Honor, which is part of the county's Heritage Park complex near downtown McDonough, at 101 Lake Dow Road. The wall, erected in 2008, was created as a monument to honor all military veterans as well as active-duty members of the military.

Mike Moon, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said he noticed recently that the monument was in need of some repair and improvements.

The 50-year-old Stockbridge resident is a member of a private-citizen group known as the Veterans Wall of Honor Preservation Committee. The group was created in December 2009.

Moon said he visits the wall regularly, to pay tribute to military veterans.

Moon noted cracks in the concrete sidewalks and poor access for disabled citizens at the foot of the monument, which officials said is a work in progress.

"There are some matters that need some attention," said Todd Ernst, of the Stockbridge-based Innovo, Inc. Ernst is the architect of the Veterans Wall of Honor, who now volunteers his time as a consultant to county officials about the wall.

"There are some slight cracks in different areas of the concrete," he said. "It's not defective workmanship, it's dealing with a material that's not as predictable as we'd like. You install control joints to try to minimize the cracks."

Ernst said the cracks are most visible in the sidewalk behind the wall and the concrete ribbons, measuring 12 to 21 inches wide, that hold the monument's brick pavers in place. He said a repair would include filling some of the cracks to prevent water from getting into them.

"I know they [county officials] are taking measures, and they are trying to work with the preservation committee to make the repairs," Ernst said. "There is going to be maintenance, ongoing."

The county intends to build more accessible sidewalks for disabled citizens, which will lead to the wall's lower-level POW-MIA memorial, said Sanders, adding that there are also plans to repair steps and add landscaping to the monument's perimeter.

"Our intent is to finish before the Memorial Day service [on May 31]," Sanders said. "We feel like we have a great responsibility in the Veterans Wall of Honor, and we want to meet that responsibility."

Sanders said the county aims to form future public and private partnerships to help support the wall's upkeep.

"Over time, a fund that can take care of maintenance and improvements to the memorial ... will provide for the wall and the rest of the memorial as it should be," Sanders added. "It's a wonderful monument that's in existence and it certainly deserves to be taken care of ... We want to meet it in a way that shows our appreciation for what veterans have done and continue to do for our country."