by Dennis Phillips
(Courtesy the Post Journal, published April 28, 2017)
State Sen. Cathy Young has helped local veteran organizations and city officials fulfill its mission to honor those who served their country.
On Friday, Young, R-Olean, announced she secured $100,000 in state funding for improvements to Veterans Memorial Park, which is located along West Third Street near Logan and Harding avenues. The funding will go toward a new nine-car parking lot, granite curbing, a sidewalk, a gazebo with benches, picnic tables, and two park signs.
The six historic monuments located in the old Veterans Memorial Park will be relocated and set in a stamped concrete base with landscaping added to accentuate the memorials. The new park amenities and the relocated memorials will join the three brick circles connected by a handicapped accessible walkway. The first circle displays a cannon, the second and largest circle displays a flag pole and monuments honoring the branches of the U.S. military, and the third circle consists of a memorial to those who lost their lives in combat.
Young said the park is important to all of those who live and visit Jamestown because everyone knows a veteran. She said our veterans defend the causes we all hold dear.
“We have had so many brave men and women who have answered the call in Western New York and Chautauqua County,” Young said.
The project to relocate the city’s Veterans Memorial Park, which used to be located near the intersection of East Third and East Second streets near Jamestown High School, started in 2011, Young said. She said that is when the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi started the relocation project. She added that the chairman for the project was Ronald Cotton, who spent the last four years of his life toward making the relocation project a reality.
To date, through the assistance of approximately 130 local organizations, veterans groups, business and individuals, $300,000 has been raised to develop Veterans Memorial Park. She said the $100,000 from the state will go toward enhancing the park.
“This funding truly is exciting news for the city, and I am happy to be able to assist in honoring Jamestown veterans. Veterans Memorial Park, when complete, will be another positive example of what can happen when people work together,” Young said.
Teresi said the initiative to relocate Veterans Memorial Park was driven by those who have served and continue to serve their country. He said the veterans led the charge and were the backbone for the initiative.
“This project screams community,” he said.
During the ceremony, the Vietnam Veterans Of American made a special presentation to Young of a framed photo of veterans with Young, which featured “Uncle” Tony Costanzo, a World War II veteran who stormed Omaha Beach as part of the D-Day invasion. Costanzo passed away earlier this month on April 6 at the age of 96.