Hales Corners — The village could get its first war memorial, thanks to a pair-up of the young and the old.
A group from the local American Legion and a 14-year-old working on his Eagle Scout project are teaming up to plan a memorial to veterans of all wars and their loved ones they left back home.
A committee researching the idea has picked out the spot - in Hales Corners Park, 116th Street and New Berlin Road, between the Hales Corners Pool and the driveway to the library. As a backup, it may also be built in front of the pool.
Those spots were chosen largely because they were the most visible to the public, said Village Trustee Donald Schwartz, who serves on the committee.
Leading the way
Howard Hingiss, a veteran of World War II and an American Legion member, and Mitchell McGlinn, a Whitnall Middle School student trying to earn Eagle Scout status, are spearheading the project.
The American Legion originally floated the idea in 2004. It was brought up again in 2007 and resurrected for a third time in February, Hingiss said.
"I finally made up my mind and I said, 'Let's get this thing going,' " Hingiss said.
The American Legion wants to do it, in part, because Hales Corners is one of the few communities in Milwaukee County around with no war memorial.
But more than that, the structure is especially important for the younger generation, Hingiss said.
"I think it's a way of keeping young people informed," he said. "They see it and they realize, 'Somebody gave up an awful lot so that I can do what I'm doing, go to the school I want to go to, and say what I want to.' "
Mitchell said he and his family often make visits to the war memorial in West Allis on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and thought there should be one closer by.
"I've really realized that Hales Corners needed one," he said.
Steps along the way
Because the memorial would be land owned by Milwaukee County, one of the next steps is to get approval from county officials, Hingiss said.
The group is also working with the Hales Corners Library Board due to the planned site's proximity to the library. The board wants to see how it aligns with the library's five-year plan.
Fundraising has also begun - Hingiss estimates the memorial could cost in the ballpark of $60,000 to $70,000.
Ideas for designs have been discussed, but nothing formal has been presented.
"We're kind of waiting to get all the ideas together to see how big we are going to go," Hingiss said.
Committee members are hoping to have the memorial built by Veterans Day 2011.
"There's a lot of due diligence going into this," Schwartz said. "But it's coming together and we're pretty excited about it."
WHAT: American Legion fundraiser for proposed memorial and other projects
WHEN: Live music, social and raffles at 3 p.m.; dinner at 5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Clifford's Supper Club, 10418 W. Forest Home Ave.
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