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Veterans Pushing for Alternative Vets Memorial Redevelopment Plan

Brent Warren Brent Warren Veterans Pushing for Alternative Vets Memorial Redevelopment Plan
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A veterans group is pushing a plan developed by the Franklin County Veterans Memorial Board to renovate the building and potentially build a hotel and parking garage on the site. The plan was developed in response to the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation’s (CDDC) proposal to tear down the building and replace it with a new memorial on about 5 acres, opening up the rest of the 17-acre site for private development.

“We are a group of veterans interested in saving and expanding and renovating what we already have,” said Steve Ebersole, who represents Save Franklin County Vets Memorial and also works as PR Officer for the American Legion 12th District, which has its offices in the current Vets Memorial building.

“Under the CDDC plan, there would not be room for our office or for the Franklin County Veterans Commissioners, and we are seeing more and more demand for veterans services” said Ebersole, noting that the Board’s proposal would add space for both organizations.

He also stressed that the building has been paying for itself for the last three years, in part by filling a niche for affordable convention and conference space.

“We’ve talked to groups that say they wouldn’t be able to hold their events in Columbus anymore – the Convention Center is just too expensive for them.”

The 3,900-seat auditorium, which has hosted many graduations and concerts through the years, would be renovated and upgraded under the plan.

The CDDC referred questions about the Veterans Memorial Board’s proposal to the County Commissioners, who, as the land owner, will be making the final decision on the future of the Vets Memorial site.

The renovation proposal was presented to the County Commissioners in October, but spokeswoman Hanna Greer said that it “does not require any action by the Commissioners,” and indicated that their support likely lies with the CDDC’s plan.

“The Board of County Commissioners remains supportive of the conceptual plan for the redevelopment of the Scioto Peninsula, unveiled by CDDC earlier this year, and will continue to have discussions with veterans, business leaders and community stakeholders to determine the best plan for Veterans Memorial.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/save.vets.

For ongoing discussion on the Vets Memorial Proposal, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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