The march for the Marco Veterans’ Memorial has begun.
An Army of members of the Veterans’ Memorial Committee are covering their flanks in an effort to raise funds for the memorial to be placed at Veterans’ Community Park.
Target dates for fundraising completion are April 1, completion of the memorial; May 1, with the first ceremony to be Memorial Day on May 31.
Members of the committee include Lee Rubenstein (chairman), Steve Stefanides, Carol Roberts, Leo Sutera, Dave Belgrade, Val Simon, Keith Dameron, Jim Lang and Brian Milk, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Milk is in charge of getting bids and the City Council for awarding contracts for the memorial project.
The project has been pared down considerably from two years ago when the cost was set at around $500,000. Cost now is estimated at $125,000, with the city having approved $60,000 in support of the memorial.
“The memorial takes into consideration economic times, causing the project to be downsized,” Rubenstein said. “The design will allow expansion over time.”
He spoke of a future honor wall at the entry to the memorial as a possibility.
“The city parks department and memorial committee will discuss enhancements as funds allow,” Rubenstein said.
The Marco VFW Post 6370 has contributed $10,000 and another $10,000 will be given at a City Council meeting in February, according to Rubenstein, post commander.
The remaining funds are to come from donations for varied types of memorials that include brick pavers of various sizes, three flag poles and 10 benches.
The design calls for a walkway of some 700 pavers leading into the 120-foot circle. Around the perimiter will be the benches. The flag poles will be directly opposite the walkway.
The center features a star design of raised granite with the United States insignia in its center. Between the star points will be raised circular designs for each major armed service.
Memorial opportunities include pavers of various sizes.
A 4x8-inch paver will be $100; 8x8 paver, $250 and a 12x12 paver, $500.
Memorial benches will be $2,500 each.
Two flag poles, for $5,000 each, will carry the city and state flags, while a larger pole, for $7,500, will carry the U.S. flag.
Rubenstein invites those interested in the memorial to go to the south end of the Veterans’ Memorial Park where the memorial is staked out and the area is denoted by Royal Palm trees.
Committee members have been assigned fund-raising duties, Rubenstein said. Sutera will be in charge of benches, Rubenstein and Dameron, corporate donors, such as banks and hotels, Roberts and Lang, civic organizations, Simon and Dameron, advertising and publicity, including making speaking engagements, and Stefanides, individual contributions. All will work in paver contributions.
Rubenstein said donation checks can be made out to the City of Marco Island-Veterans Memorial and sent to the Marco Island Community Center at 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, FL 34145.
“This is a great opportunity to remember those who have served or are serving our country,” Rubenstein said. “It is also a time where memorials can be made to others in a patriotic gesture.”
Rubenstein sees the location as a “time to reflect. I think the memorial will be a key feature for residents and visitors coming to the island.”
For more information, call Rubenstein, 564-9894, or Milk, 642-1662.