Memorial Park Project Enters New Phase
Local Veterans’ Names Sought by Committee
By Rick Hiduk
A grant from the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will allow the Bradford County Veterans’ Memorial Park Association (BCVMPA) to move forward with a crucial phase of the anticipated construction of a parking lot and walkways that will tie together an existing park with a larger proposed project on the opposite side of the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge at Towanda.
The confirmation of $200,000 in funding from DCNR will allow Dawood Engineering, Inc. and architects Ted Strosser and Jason Clapp to produce a site plan for construction based on previously rendered designs for the park. Towanda borough manager Tom Fairchild, Jr. has credited Sen. Gene Yaw for pushing DCNR for the grant, which had been in the works since the beginning of the year.
According to BCVMPA committee member and project leader Joe Doherty, a number of potential corporate donors have suggested that they might assist with the cost of the project, but “They want to see shovels in the ground.”
Essentially, the overall project is intended to combine Roger A. Madigan Park, which was built next to the Progress Building as a tribute to Bradford County’s 51 municipalities, Towanda’s Riverfront Park, the Merrill Parkway, and Main Street/Route 6. The first phase of construction will include a sidewalk under the Route 6 bridge and a parking lot built of permeable bricks that will serve as the base for the new park on the south side of the bridge that will honor area veterans.
As the plans take a giant step forward, BCVMPA is in the process of collecting names of area veterans who were killed in action, listed as “missing in action,” or held during any of America’s major conflicts as a prisoner of war. The names can be registered at no charge and will be inscribed on the faces of three respective monuments that will be placed in the park. The organization is also creating a list of veterans who were wounded in action, but they suspect that there will be too many names to inscribe them all on a planned Purple Heart monument.
“We have a list, but it is not complete,” Doherty stated. Friends and family members of veterans of any war or named conflict are encouraged to look back into their family’s histories and to take note of all men and women who served in the military. Doherty hopes to ensure that nobody is missed on the proposed monuments, including those who may no longer have any descendants in the area. He cautions that any additions made after the park is constructed will be costly, so getting things right the first time is essential.
Complete names, along with the branch of the military in which they served and the conflict arena (if known), can be mailed to Towanda Borough, BCVMPA, PO Box 206, Towanda, PA 18848. Interested parties may also phone 570-596-3224 or log on to www.bcvmpa.org for more information. From the website, supporters may also download order forms to purchase honorarium granite pavers that will be inlaid in the pathways around the new park.