Stonington veterans memorial receives ARPA funding
Stonington―The Board of Selectmen on Thursday approved the use of $86,420 in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to fund most of the remaining cost of a veterans memorial monument proposed for the lawn in front of the police station.
The Board of Finance has earlier approved the use of the funds on Aug 3.
Planning for the project began in January 2020, with a funding goal of $180,000, but the cost has increased to approximately $200,000 in part due to cost of a foundation and landscaping.
Stacey Haskell, the executive assistant to First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough, is spearheading the project and said Friday that with the ARPA funds, “we are fairly close to that $200,000 mark.”
After Thursday’s meeting, Chesebrough said “the whole point of this is obviously to honor veterans, but it’s also to help younger people, people who aren’t in service and future generations to understand and respect the sacrifice and what drew them.”
The eight-sided granite memorial will allows visitors to use their smartphone to access a website containing the names of Stonington veterans as well as information and about them and video interviews. So far, the project has collected the names of more than 7,000 residents and former residents who have served in the military since World War I.
Chesebrough said the town envisions having a visual arts component on the eight sides of the monument, “capturing the meaning of why people serve, and what it means to serve and what it means to come home after serving.”
She said the plan is to put out a call to artists for proposals by this winter, and added, “ideally, we’d love to have people collaborate—so, not just one artist, but a few of them.”
They plan is to offer a $10,000 stipend to the artist, or artists, to produce the images for the monument. The stipend will be funded by ARPA money, which can be used to support artists.
The project is a joint effort by the town and the Harley P. Chase Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1265 in Pawcatuck. Plans call for the installation of the monument by next spring.