A Dream Becomes a Reality

Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky
takes shape in Crestwood

Park to become an outdoor educational
center in the heart of Oldham County

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (June 2011) – In a matter of time, Crestwood will get a truly unique memorial park that will both honor and educate those who visit. Even just a few minutes spent in this park will give individuals a glimpse into the sacrifices many armed service men have made to secure the freedoms enjoyed in the United States.
The design of the Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky will be “a visual sacrifice of what Americans have made,” said Don Helton. Helton is chair of the Board of Directors for Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky Inc., an organization dedicated to creating a gathering place for individuals to remember the sacrifices veterans have made for everyone.

Don Helton

Photo by Don Ward

Don Helton poses beside a display
of the Veterans Memorial Park
during the Oldham County
Chamber’s Business Showcase.

The 33,000-square-foot park will be located in Crestwood, adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Parkway along KY Hwy. 329. The park will be next to the main entrance of South Oldham Middle and South Oldham High Schools. The park is the result of the Oldham County Board of Education’s action to establish the park in this location.
Organizers hope to soon set in motion fundraising actions to help speed the project along. The projected dedication date is May 2012. The organization will unveil bronze markers each year around Memorial Day.
A second goal for this year is to promote a brick program. For $50, individuals can purchase a brick in remembrance of a veteran.
The park will “recognize Oldham Countians who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Helton said. The bricks will bear the names of service men from World War II and upward. Helton said organizers are looking to expand the information they have about each of the 40 soldiers who were from Oldham County, to include the date of birth, years they served and rank.

Veterans Memorial Park Map

The initial plans for the park have been expanded, almost tripling in size, Helton said. “Initially, we were only going to use one-third of it.”
The design calls for sections of sidewalk that represent one year in a walk through “300 Years of Military History.” The concept begins with the Revolutionary War and continues through the year 2076, reserving space for future additions. Colored sections of the sidewalk indicate that there was a military conflict during that year.
“The paved pathway sort of meanders through time,” said Jim Zimmerman, treasurer for the organization. The entire park is comparable to “an outdoor education center,” he said.
Included in the design are granite benches, a gazebo, speakers’ platform and flag poles representing various branches of the armed services. Bronze markers with information about American military actions will be placed in chronological order along the walking path. The focus is on “those who died,” Helton said.
“We’re gathering all of the information for the groundwork,” said Zimmerman. “The size of the plot has basically stayed the same, but the concept has grown.”
Fran Scott of Scott Klausing & Co. Architects designed the original plans for the park. He said the design has been refined, based on the two main design elements required from organizers.
“There are two parts to their mission,” said Scott. “Memorializing and honoring the casualties from Kentucky, and education. The theme involves a timeline; by being on a school campus, this will enable students to put things into perspective.”
Zimmerman said he has visited many similar sites and this one will be “one of a kind.” Not only is the site aesthetically appealing but it is easily accessible by the public. “I anticipate it to be a tourist draw as well.”
Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky is just getting started on fundraising for this project. The total estimated cost is more than $200,000, said Helton.

• For more information, contact Don Helton at (502) 243-9998 or visit: www.VeteransMemorialParkKY.com.

Back to June 2011 Articles.



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