By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
BLUFORD — A joint effort by two organizations in Bluford will provide aesthetic value to the village's centerpiece.
Members of the Bluford Ruritan Club and American Legion Post 1193 volunteered their services on Saturday to lay footings and smooth out concrete for a walkway leading to the cross for the unknown soldier and have also placed concrete pads at the Veterans Memorial site for the cross and a granite memorial park bench.
"This is an effort by the community, and we enlisted the help of the Legion and Bluford Ruritan Club. We held several key meetings with each group and discussed what the community needed," said Mike Bullard, a village board member who headed up the project. "Both groups provided financial support for this project," he added.
Bullard said the additions to the Veterans Memorial will meet the needs of the community — having a permanent walkway from the sidewalk to the west to the cross of the unknown soldier.
"We needed the walkway for a path that leads to the cross," Bullard said.
Although the walkway will take away some of the space the Legion uses to place crosses on the grounds of memorial, officials are hopeful they will still have enough room to accommodate over 500 crosses placed at the memorial each year for the annual Veterans Day service.
Estimated cost of the project is $5,000 — $3,000 for the monument, and concrete costs associated with the pads for the cross and granite park bench.
"People in the community are very proud of this memorial. We have had many compliments on it. People come across the railroad tracks and are in tears when they reach the memorial," Bullard said.
Construction on the memorial began in 1991 and it was dedicated that same year on Veterans Day.
Bullard said he expects the monument to be in place by Memorial Day.
"We wanted to bring the memorial up to date, to show some community improvement," Bullard said.