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May 8, 2014

Howard Co. commission commits funding to MLK, Veterans memorials

Two projects will each get $15,000 in support from county

Howard County Commissioners have committed $15,000 each to help advance construction on a pair of monuments in Kokomo.

Commissioners committed the funding to both the Howard County Veterans Memorial at Darrough Chapel Park and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in downtown during its meeting Tuesday and will approve the funding when site plans are complete for each project.

Jerry Paul, president of the Howard County Veterans Memorial Corp., has informed the commissioners of the progress of the project during the past several months. He was happy to see commissioners commit funding to the project, as phase two must raise $117,000 to be completed.

“I want to thank you guys for stepping up, it’s been a long, long time,” Paul said. “We’re hoping that by you guys stepping up, that some other government entities will also support us.”

Commission president Paul Wyman said the projects will be welcomed additions to the county.

“We have had a tremendous amount of discussion, especially with the county council,” he said. “We’re proud to do it, and it’s going to be a great monument. We think that people will come from afar to see it.”

The veterans’ memorial, located at 600 S. Goyer Road, features the names of men and women from Howard County who died in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam as well as more recent wars.

Well-known sculptor Benjamin Victor, of California, was expected to begin sculpting the new statue in mid-April.

Fundraising continues for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, which has now raised nearly $55,000 toward its $150,000 goal through the Community Foundation of Howard County.

Memorial commission chairwoman Nanette Bowling said the donation from the county is appreciated as organizers move forward.

“We’re extremely grateful that they think this is a project that is so important to donate the amount that they did,” she said.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.

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