HAMPDEN TOWNSHIP — A master site plan for a proposed veterans’ park on 17 acres of land donated to the township by Giant Food was presented to the board of commissioners recently.
Veterans’ Recognition Committee Chairman Gary Coburn said the first phase is expected to cost approximately $127,000 and should be completed this year.
First-phase work includes constructing a roadway from the Giant store parking lot to the creek, installation of a stream crossing, and provision for limited parking. A paved path will also be constructed, leading up to the site of the future memorial.
The second phase will include the construction of the actual memorial on the property, a cost of $514,000, which will also include a berm to mask the noise of Interstate 81, which the park borders.
The plan is to begin the memorial construction in early 2016.
Plans for a third phase, which would include items such as pavilions and bathrooms, is still undetermined.
Coburn said a capital fundraising campaign will begin this month. The committee hopes to also gain help in the form of in-kind donations, and will be holding a fundraiser in which people can pay to have each of the 10,200 bricks surrounding the memorial engraved.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the committee’s recommendation for naming the memorial after Leon Lock, one of the charter members of the committee who passed away in 2014.
Lock served on the Army in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and was transferred to the Navy toward the end of the war.
“Like millions of other fathers and sons,” Coburn said, “he left his job to put a uniform on and serve his country.”
Following the war, Lock attended college, and then returned to the Army. He retired as a captain with the Army Corps of Engineers. Coburn said he was a successful businessman and philanthropist.
Naming the park after Lock is not necessarily just about honoring him, but “all who served our country, especially those who died in service,” Coburn said.
Coburn also recognized and thanked Supervisor Nate Silcox, who served on the committee, and was the “brainchild” of the memorial park project.