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  • John Clayton, Laurens County Advertiser

Monument Park would honor County's War Veterans

By John Clayton Website Link

Editor

(Editor’s Note: The Laurens County Advertiser is taking a look at each of the 16 projects proposed to be funded by the Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) in Laurens County. The 1-cent sales tax will be put to a referendum in the Nov. 3 General Election. The next proposed project in the series Is a new Veterans Monument and Memorial Park.)

A project to honor the county’s military veterans is among those chosen for inclusion on the Capital Project Sales Tax referendum.

The $414,200 project is somewhat different than an original proposal, which came with a $200,000 price tag, presented in 2019 to the Laurens County Council.

Under the proposal approved by the appointed CPST Commission, the memorial park is to be located at the Laurens County Public Library’s northern lawn.

Modeled after a similar park in Greenwood, it would include green space, a fountain and a monument area representing each branch of the U.S. armed services.

A group of local veterans, including the late King Dixon, James “Buck” Buchanan, Claude Vaughn, Tom Arnold and retired Veteran’s Affairs Directory Carey Bolt, created a plan for the initial memorials and were attempting to raise funds to construct it, working with the same monument company in Elberton, Georgia that built the monuments in Greenwood.

“This goes back several years with the Hall of Heroes program that Carey Bolt started,” said retired County Administrator Ernie Segers, who helped with the presentation to the CPST Commission. “That’s a distinguished program that has gained a lot of popularity around here.”

Segers said he hopes the plan for the memorial park will be popular among veterans and their families as well.

“The area of the library came into play to do sort of a plaza and make that a monument in itself,” Segers said, adding that the park would create a larger and more prominent display. “It’s to be able to honor veterans and create a place they can go and their families can go, and they can celebrate or meditate or whatever they’d like to do.”

The monument park was ranked by the commission at No. 8 among the 16 projects being put to the Nov. 3 referendum, meaning it will be among the top half to receive funding if the CPST is passed by voters.

Segers said that reflects the importance placed locally on veterans and their service to the U.S.

“There are hundreds of veterans in the county,” he said. “And they make a tremendous impact economically and all around the count. This is a deserved reward for the veterans who have contributed so much to our country.”

Segers also said it is a fitting tribute to Dixon, who died in August of cancer at the age of 81. Dixon was a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines Corps who served in Vietnam.

“King was a driving force behind this,” he said. “He helped put a lot of the plans together for it, and it would be something to do in his memory.”

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