The city plans to replace the black granite plaques depicting U.S. military history in Liberty Park, but one alderman wants the new plaques carved from American granite.
Resident Patrick Smiley created the walking museum along the walking trail in the park and raised the funds from local individuals and organizations to purchase the original plaques.
Weathering of the black granite has left most of the plaques unreadable, so the city decided to replace them.
City Administrator Steve Roth recommended contracting with Laser Imaging and Design, a Chinese granite firm recommended by Smiley, to replace all the plaques at a cost of approximately $20,303.
The Pacific Tourism Commission allocated $15,000 to replace the plaques. Roth said there is a balance in the museum account of $2,100.
“The cost to the city would be $3,000,” Roth said.
Alderman Ed Gass said he would like to see the city try to find a vendor who mines granite in the United States.
“I would too,” said Mayor Steve Myers.
Roth said he thought that the type of granite recommended is only available in China.
“I can’t think that in this country we can’t build those plaques,” Gass said.
Myers asked Roth to go back to the vendor and talk to them about American granite.
Roth said he will ask for options.
“If we could get granite produced locally, great, or anywhere in the U.S.,” Roth said. “We looked at the type they use because it weathers.”
“What does weather do to gravestones?” Gass asked. “Some are 100 years old.”
Roth said once the new plaques are made, the original plaques would be returned to the sponsors or a family member.
“We’ll try to ﬁnd homes for them,” he said.
Alderman Carol Johnson said she’s certain the United Auto Workers would accept the two plaques they purchased and put them in a Union hall.
“All have memorials to veterans,” Johnson said.