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Monument finds a home; World War I memorial going to Hamilton Square.

Byline: Jan Gottesman

CLINTON - It has taken years of effort, but it seems there is finally a consensus of where the World War I monument should go.

The Clinton Parks and Recreation Commission and representatives of the James R. Kirby American Legion Post 50 on Wednesday agreed that Hamilton Square, known to many in town as Depot Square, should be home to the 10-by-6-foot monument.

The Legion designed and paid for the monument, but discussions of where to put the monument have gone around in circles, mainly with officials trying to find an appropriate place where the monument will not be out of place size-wise.

Landscaper Dale Dimeco will be working up plans to submit to the American Legion, which is paying for the installation, and Parks and Recreation, which will maintain the parcel.

Last week, after the Parks and Recreation Commission voted to look at putting the monument in Central Park, Chairman Edward Verrier and Director Jessica Brodie went to the park to see whether the Bigelow Monument could be moved to site the World War I monument. But the two agreed that the Bigelow Monument was sited there for a reason.

"I talked to people from the Historical Society and the reason it was sited there is to be a focal point for the park," Verrier said.

Brodie said, given the size of the monument, the secondary site, where the sundial is, on the police station side of the park, would not have looked right.

"I sat in the park, in front of town hall, and looked over the whole park, trying to figure out where it would fit in. It is massive - 10-feet tall - and would be obtrusive," Verrier said. "It just would not look right."

American Legion member Edward Barrus, pastor of the Faith Bible Church, in Clinton, said the same could be said about the Walnut Street side of Town Hall, next to the existing monuments.

"It would have eaten up half the site and shrunken all the other monuments," Barrus said.

Hamilton Square is named for Perley R. Hamilton, who died in World War I. Members of his family last week said they would be OK with the monument going into the square "as long as it does not take away" from the square.

"We see it as a special tribute to all the World War I personnel," cousin Carol Ann Hamilton said last week.

Those at Wednesday's meeting, including Legion Commander Lisa McPhee, took a trip down to Hamilton Square, and then used a piece of 10-foot wood and a 6-foot measuring stick to imagine where the memorial would look best, and what work would need to be done for the installation.

Dimeco said he would sketch up two options: one pushing the flagpole back, adding a patio in front of it and installing the monument in front of that, facing Main Street; and the other putting the monument in the middle of the square, reworking the sidewalks around it.

Dimeco said the plan to move the flag back and put the memorial on the grass could be the easiest, although there is no way of knowing what is below the ground. If the sidewalks are changed, the entire park's sidewalks will likely need to be made handicapped accessible.

The options will be presented to the American Legion at its next meeting, then to the Parks and Recreation Commission. If all goes as planned, the monument could be ready for dedication on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Barrus said the Legion will ask that, on Memorial Day, the parade from Central Park to the cemetery stop at Hamilton Square, for a brief ceremony.

Dimeco will also look at whether it is possible to run electricity from the street light box to the center of the park, so any event there could use the power. Another option could be installing a solar light to illuminate the memorial at night.

"It is going to be the only thing in the park," Verrier said, noting there is only a small marker on one side. "It is going to be beautiful."

"We are making concessions to move it out from the center of town, but for all the right reasons," Parks Commissioner Yoanna Osborne said.



CUTLINE: Members of the Clinton Parks and Recreation Commission, and representatives of James R. Kirby American Legion Post 50 survey the spot in Hamilton Square under consideration for the World War I memorial.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 28, 2012
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