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Newport plans a veterans memorial

Bulletin photo by Jon Avise A new veterans memorial in Newport will honor residents who have served in the military. It will be in Pioneer Park, already home to this plaque commemorating the community's Civil War-era past. Bulletin photo by Jon Avise

Newport celebrated its Civil War-era past with a weekend of living history last month at Pioneer Park. Now, the city plans to honor residents who are veterans of all American wars with a permanent marker on the same site.

The city dedicated a veterans memorial in Pioneer Park during the recent Civil War celebration, marking the spot at the city's oldest park with a 25-foot flagpole that officials say will be surrounded by a circular plaza of brick pavers etched with the names of residents who have served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Newport will begin work on the memorial plaza at the leafy park located at the corner of Second Avenue and Sixth Street in the spring of 2012. Its location sits just a few hundred feet from an existing marker that notes the space where, on Sept. 26, 1861, more than 40 area men mustered into military service for the Civil War. Among the first 50 bricks laid as part of the plaza will be the names of those men.

Additional bricks will come from bricks sponsored by veterans, their family members, community groups and area businesses, officials say. Bricks can be sponsored for $50; the city is also seeking donations to help cover some of the memorial's costs.

"The plan is for it to grow every year," Mayor Tim Geraghty said.

Earlier this year, neighboring Cottage Grove also unveiled plans for a veterans memorial of its own that will be constructed outside a new city hall and public safety complex set to open next October.

St. Paul Park's Veterans Memorial Park, located between Fourth and Fifth streets, honors those who have served and was funded largely by contributions from the city's veterans organizations.