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Lewiston to receive grant and volunteer help to restore Veterans Memorial Park

May 1—LEWISTON — The L&A Veterans Council will receive a grant and volunteer help this month to kickstart renovations to Veterans Memorial Park, which sustained heavy harm in a December flood.

The park, which lies alongside the Androscoggin River, has sat largely untouched for the reason that winter storm took out a number of of its monuments, washed away benches and broken the grounds. Stone pedestals holding up a Korean War-era Jeep and naval gun are nonetheless itemizing to one aspect.

“The Jeep looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” Veterans Council chairman Jerry DeWitt stated.

The Nineteen Sixties-era tank that was positioned at Veterans Memorial Park is surrounded by flood water from the Androscoggin River Wednesday in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

On May 14, the council will receive a $20,000 grant from the American Rental Association Foundation and the Toro Company Foundation, which may even donate volunteers and tools to work on the park in collaboration with the council and Lewiston Public Works.

DeWitt stated he is glad that work to restore the park is coming after just a few months of questions over how to transfer ahead.

“We’re very fortunate to have them select us as a project and support us as much as they are,” he stated, concerning the grant.

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The preliminary work will embody constructing a short lived street that can enable a crane to entry the property and transfer the Jeep and naval gun to increased floor. DeWitt stated as soon as these items are moved, the town will rebuild the world with new materials after a lot of it was washed away within the flood.

Immediately following the flood, DeWitt stated he contacted the crane firm, however they had been informed there was no manner to safely get the tools in. He stated the Cote Corp. is volunteering its providers for the job.

The street may have to be roughly 180 toes lengthy and 14 toes vast. While cranes had been used to place the monuments there, DeWitt stated an excessive amount of of the bottom was washed away.

The plan, he stated, is to have the town’s portion of the job accomplished by July, although some remaining work might happen within the months main up to Veterans Day in November.

A 51 mm gun from a Naval ship and an Army Jeep at Veterans Memorial Park are overcome by the Androscoggin River in Lewiston throughout the December 2023 storm. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The L&A Veterans Council can be planning to host a Memorial Day ceremony on the park — on the higher stage — at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25.

Kevin Gagne, Public Works director, stated the town is planning to contract out the work to restore the location, and after the Jeep and naval gun are reinstalled, they’ll set up loam and seed, pave the walkways and work with the council on reinstalling different granite monuments and benches.

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“The goal is to have the park open for Fourth of July festivities,” he stated.

“I’m thankful for this grant and the volunteers who are lending a hand to help restore the damage caused by the flood,” Mayor Carl Sheline stated Wednesday.

“Veterans Memorial Park is more than just a pretty spot to enjoy the river, it’s hallowed ground that represents the lives given to defend our country and the commitment to service that has long existed in our community.”

Other objects which can be nonetheless lacking embody a time capsule, which the council is hoping to discover. The council is providing a $200 reward to anybody who finds the capsule, which is a casket that washed downriver throughout the flood. A photograph of the casket throughout the storm went viral, with many individuals speculating that it washed away from a cemetery.

Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston is seen Wednesday, 4 months after a December 2023 storm dislodged monuments and and army tools because the Androscoggin River raged previous it. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

DeWitt stated in the event that they get it again, he’ll safe it so it by no means washes away once more.

“We’re moving forward,” he stated, including that he is excited to get to work.

The American Rental Association Foundation, headquartered in Moline, Illinois, is a nonprofit devoted to supporting the tools and occasion rental business, and its work to help Lewiston is considered one of a number of “impact projects” the group helps all through the nation.

Several teams throughout Maine additionally donated to the council following information of the harm in December.

According to a information launch concerning the grant, volunteers will arrive at 8 a.m. May 14 for a brief welcome and presentation from the American Rental Association Foundation. Road building and particles cleanup will happen all through the day, with work scheduled to conclude at 3 p.m.

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