Wednesday, April 11, 2012

County supports veterans memorial

Plan calls for tribute in central Hailey


By MATT FURBER

A committee led by Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen has gained county support for construction of a tribute to veterans in downtown Hailey. The tribute would be in the form of a public art project to be built next to the historic Blaine County Courthouse property.

"What began as a veterans memorial monument out on the courthouse grounds has grown into something larger than that," Schoen said during a County Commission meeting Tuesday.

His fellow commissioners, Tom Bowman and Angenie McCleary, voiced their support for the tribute.

The committee has proposed a budget nearing $200,000, largely to be derived from donations.

Schoen explained that the concept expanded beyond something that simply recognizes certain groups of soldiers who have served during specific military conflicts, contemporary or historic. He said the project is to be a tribute to veterans who have served in all capacities at any time.

Committee members present at the meeting were public art advocate Mark Johnstone and veterans Curtis Kemp and Rick Baird.

Schoen said the tribute could include sculptural aspects and, one day, something like a touch-screen that tells visitors about Blaine County stories of service.

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"It could be a place for people to visit and sit and contemplate the loss of family members ... a place to meet or simply to find comfort," he said.

The committee's presentation envisions the monument as a gathering space for the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

"This county has an unbelievable history when it comes to military service," Baird said.

Baird voiced concern that veterans with decorated histories have died without recognition in Blaine County.

The committee agreed to supply the commission soon with its final call for artists, a proposed, community-funded budget and request for qualifications. McCleary and Bowman asked the committee to submit any application for Blaine County funds as well.




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