The city of Cumming’s Veterans War Memorial won’t be coming down as originally planned but instead be repaired, according to Mayor Troy Brumbalow.
On Tuesday, April 16, the Cumming City Council voted unanimously during their regular meeting to take down the structure on Veterans Memorial Boulevard over safety concerns due to the structure’s condition, while preserving as many materials as possible to repurpose them for a new veterans memorial at the proposed City Center. The city had announced that crews would begin taking down the structure on Thursday.
Reaction on social media Wednesday to the news of the memorial’s removal was swift and largely negative, and Thursday morning Brumbalow said the city had reversed course.
The current memorial will be repaired, albeit “in a little bit different form,” Brumbalow said, “because you can’t exactly replicate it, because the original materials aren’t available.”
The cost of the repairs is unknown, Brumbalow said.
“We’re having to do this in an emergency capacity,” he said.
Repairs are expected to be completed by the city’s Memorial Day ceremony, Brumbalow said.
Meanwhile, a new veterans memorial is still planned for the City Center development on Hwy. 20, Brumbalow said. The new memorial will serve as the “centerpiece” of the City Center, according to Brumbalow, and comprise 30 of the project’s 60 acres. It will incorporate the City Center’s amphitheater for future Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and include more educational material on each of the wars as well as an expanded version of the Avenue of Flags display at the current memorial site.
“[We’re] going to be doing something bigger and better at the City Center,” Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow said.
The memorial has been a fixture of the downtown area since it was dedicated in 1992. Designed by a five-member committee and built by county resident Gregory Johnson, the monument features a pedestal for each war from the Civil War through the Persian Gulf War with the names of city and county residents who fought and died in each conflict, as well as bronze sculptural pieces of various items from those time periods.
The city’s street department noticed significant damage to the foundation of the monument about three weeks ago, according to City Administrator Phil Higgins said. Two monument companies and Johnson examined the monument and memorial grounds and determined the damage was from excessive moisture, Higgins said. All agreed the monument should be taken down, he said. Council members voted at Tuesday’s meeting to authorize funds for the work.
That won’t happen now.