Royal Oak, Michigan – For over a year, veteran groups have pleaded with the city to leave their war memorial statue right where it is. The city wants to move the monument 40 feet as part of a larger $4.6 million Centennial Park redevelopment project. Plans include moving the statue to turn the area into a park. However, many veterans and some community members are adamant that the statue remains put.
Back in 2007, the memorial was moved from a congested area located a few blocks away. The purpose of the relocation was to get away from road noise and city traffic. Per local channel 4 news, citizens donated for the new memorial, and an ordinance was written to protect the land around it. Now, it is argued that the city’s plan to move the statue to make way for the park violates that ordinance. The city maintains that the ordinance only says that the memorial must remain on the same land.
Those who support the city argue that the statue isn’t moving far. However, many believe that to move the statue to a less-than-desirable place is a dishonor to veterans. Folks pushing to keep the memorial in its current place are petitioning the city and have gathered roughly half of the 600 signatures needed to force a public vote. The Save the Memorial Group has accused the city of not inviting them to discuss plans for the park and monument. The city differs, stating that opportunities were open for discussion during public meetings. To add to the uproar, there is now a probe into a confrontation over the Veterans’ Monument, as a former serviceman states that he was confronted and “bumped” while circulating petitions. It appears that emotions are running high over the controversy and that the veterans must continue to work diligently to uphold their honorable goal.
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