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St. Augustine discusses concerns for moving war memorial

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Updated: 1/27 11:43 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- St. Augustine is a city steeped in history and tradition, but one historical tribute to local war veterans is going unnoticed.

"We didn't even see it when we were walking by," said tourist Mary Schwenger of the monument to fallen war heroes that sits on the corner of Cathedral Place and Charlotte Street.

Action News has been covering the fight to move the monument since electrical boxes to control the Bridge of Lions were installed right next to it last summer.

"It doesn't look pretty," said tourist Debbie Difulbio. She's visited the nation's oldest city numerous times and has never noticed the monument, even though it's been there since 1946.

"It's not something someone would want to come and look at."

Katherine Burtin agrees.

She's president of the Pilot Club of St. Augustine, the group that sponsored the monument many years ago. She's been working to move it ever since the boxes were installed, and on Monday, she had some success. Commissioners agreed to move the monument just 35 feet from its current home at an estimated cost of $10,000.

"I can think of no more honored place for this monument to be," said Nancy Sikes-Kline, St. Augustine's vice mayor.

The cost to move the war monument within city plaza includes new walkways and landscaping. Florida Power and Light, which installed the boxes, has offered to pay half of the $10,000 pricetag. The city will solicit donations to cover the rest, but that isn't city leaders' biggest concern.

"I want somebody to look at it and tell us if we move it it's going to stay together or if we move it it's going to fall apart," said Mayor Joe Bowles during the meeting.

This tribute to fallen heroes was built on concrete that may be hollow, and could fall apart if moved. The monument's cap and plaque are the most historical parts, and project managers say the core of the monument can be rebuilt.

Despite the concern, Burtin believes it's a risk worth taking.

"We have to go with hope that it will not crack or break, but it can be rebuilt," she said.

If the city's Historical Architecture Review Board approves the new location at it's next meeting on Feb. 20, and then city leaders approved the final price tag, then the monument could move as early at April 2014.

If you would like to donate to this cause, contact St. Augustine City Commissioner Donald Critchlow.

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rhodacostintya - 1/28/2014 3:38 PM
0 Votes
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imtellin - 1/28/2014 8:12 AM
0 Votes
hey mr. mayor,, why not remove the bronze plaques & simply rebuild a new monument to screw them to out of concrete... it would be a lot cheaper than the $10,000.00 you all want to waste at present !!! it could be built new for $1000.00 tops...
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