Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Carroll City Council members Monday unanimously voted to formally take ownership of the Veterans Memorial Park monument honoring the nation’s military men and women.

“I think that it’s great we’re getting a chance to receive this report and memorial right after the Fourth of July,” said Mayor Adam Schweers.

Local veteran Donley Granstra, along with his close friend, the late Merlin “Mike” Bruning, spearheaded an $80,000 private fundraising campaign for the monument that was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2008 (Veterans Day) at Veterans Memorial Park. The understanding during the fundraising and construction process had been that the city eventually would take ownership of the memorial, which rests on municipal property.

“That point has come,” Granstra told the Carroll City Council. “We have completed it. In my estimation, it’s sturdy and ready to go.”

Don Bernholtz II, a 1996 Kuemper Catholic High School graduate, designed the monument a decade ago while he was a student in the Iowa State University School of Design and Architecture. The monument features a 13-foot aluminum flag and granite slabs honoring the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Bernholtz now lives in Ames where he works as an intern-architect for Stott & Barrientos.

“I was glad to see it come to reality,” Bernholtz said in a phone interview Monday night. “It’s essentially the dream of all designers. I’m glad they pulled all the volunteers together and made it happen.”

Bernholtz volunteered his time and talents for the monument. Dozens of people and businesses donated to the monument fund over the years, and local contractors provided in-kind contributions.

“We feel this monument will stand the test of time with the city providing the care it will need over the years,” Granstra said.

Granstra credited Bruning, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, with being the inspiration for the campaign to finance the monument. Bruning told fiends and other advocates of the memorial that he wanted to see it built before he died. Bruning  passed away March 30, 2011, at age 85.

Veterans Memorial Park, located in northeast Carroll, was officially named in April 1999 by the Carroll City Council.