Still fundraising

VFW has raised $3,200 for Union County Freedom Rock; rock’s location decided despite contention from McKinley Park supporters

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:10 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 1, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT

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Donations are still needed.

The $1,000 deposit on the Union County Freedom Rock has been paid, but fundraising continues as the total cost of the rock is $5,000. Denny Abel, quartermaster for the Creston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1797, said the group has currently raised $3,200.

Of that $3,200, the city of Creston donated $1,000 from its hotel/motel fund. It served as the deposit and secured the city of Creston as the site of the Union County Freedom Rock.

As well, Creston Elks Lodge No. 605 stepped up and made a $1,000 donation.

“The Creston Elks have always been strong supporters of veterans,” said Eric Shawler, exalted ruler at Creston Elks Lodge. “So, when we were told about this memorial rock, it was an easy decision for us to make a donation. We’ve all seen the one north of Greenfield, so we know this will be a nice memorial and something the Creston community can be proud of.”

Abel said the remaining $1,200 raised so far came from personal donations. To make a tax-deductible donation toward the project, make checks payable to VFW/Freedom Rock and send to P.O. Box 153, Creston, Iowa 50801.

Location

There has been much discussion from citizens about where in Creston the Union County Freedom Rock should be placed. However, Abel said he, City Administrator Mike Taylor and Creston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Gerharz decided the best place for the rock is Frank Phillips Visitor Center located on Highway 34 on the west side of Creston.

“We felt that location is the most accessible,” Abel said, “and we also felt when visitors come into town and stop to see the rock, they will also check out the visitor’s center and see all the other great things Creston has to offer.”

But, McKinley Park Board Chairman John Kawa and other citizens are calling for the rock to be placed at the veteran’s memorial garden in McKinley Park.

“I’m not going to make a big stink about it,” Kawa said. “But, they made the decision (to put it at the visitor’s center) without asking or getting input from the park board. I’m a park guy. I want the rock there. The park has a memorial garden. Is there a better place to put a memorial rock than in a memorial garden?”

Creston News Advertiser held a reader poll last week and a majority of readers would like to see the rock be placed in McKinley Park. Also, readers mentioned a good location would be somewhere in the Creston business district.

Arrival of rock

The rock is going to be donated by the family of Dr. Robert Kuhl. The rock’s dimensions are 8-feet long by 8-feet tall by 5-feet wide.

Abel said Union County Engineer Steve Akes and the secondary roads department crew have agreed to move the rock when the time comes. The tentative timeline to move the rock to the visitor’s center is September. Abel said a committee will soon be formed to decide what will be painted on the Union County Freedom Rock.

Abel said plans are for the rock to be painted by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen sometime in 2015.

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