LEBANON, Tenn. - A new veterans memorial park and museum in Wilson County is one step closer to reality after County Commissioners approved $600,000 to cover the first phase of the project.
County Commissioners voted 20 to 3 Monday to support the project. It has been in the works for two years, after the county purchased a 1.2 acre piece of land next to the Wilson County Courthouse on East Main Street in Lebanon.
The plans for the park include a star-shaped pool and fountain, monuments for each branch of the military, and recognition for local veterans. The museum would feature military memorabilia and would also house the Wilson County Veterans Services Department, which currently operates in the main courthouse.
Wilson County Commissioner and Veterans Services Officer Bernie Ash said the project is a much needed addition to a county that has over 9500 veterans.
"We need to honor our veterans," said Commissioner Ash. "I talk to so many veterans in Wilson County who have stories to tell. We can't lose those stories."
Ash estimated the entire project will cost around $1.2 million. The Veterans Services Department has already raised $120,000, and will continue fundraising projects.
"We've had a local company give us the brick we need, and another company has given us all the stone we need," said Commissioner Ash.
Local veterans filled the Wilson County Courthouse for Monday's commission meeting to show their support for the project.
"It's something that we as veterans we feel like we deserve," said Vietnam Veteran Robert Fields. "The best thing Wilson County can do is honor those of us who served."
For more information on purchasing a brick with a veteran's name, or a T-shirt to support the project, contact the Wilson County Veterans Services Department at (615) 444-2460.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.