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Elmwood's veterans park has whole new look

Marty Reinier showed off the new look to the Veterans Memorial Park in Elmwood last week. Reinier is the former commander of Elmwood’s American Legion Post. (Herald photos by Bill Kirk)1 / 2
A picnic pavilion has been built as part of improvements at the Veterans Memorial Park in Elmwood. Like the rest of the upgrade project, the pavilion benefited from many donations.2 / 2

ELMWOOD—An improvement project at Veterans Memorial Park in Elmwood started with a nuisance detected while preparing for Memorial Day ceremonies and has ended with it better serving that holiday, Veterans Day and many others to come.

As former Elmwood Legion Commander Marty Reinier tells it, he was trying to lower the U.S. flag flying at the site to half-staff for the Memorial Day event a year ago this past spring, but a thick plant and brush growth kept getting in the way.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is the last time I’m putting up with this’,” Reinier said Thursday of having had to climb through the branches.

Little did the local native know at the time where his determination to remedy a problem of interference-by-nature would ultimately lead. As the annual Veterans Day observance rolled around this week, the park stood as a point of pride for him and many others, completely renovated.

The originator of the upgrade emphasized many donations, whether of money, materials or labor, made it all possible. He could recite names of the people responsible—and did, but hesitated to have them published for fear of inadvertently leaving someone out. Suffice it to say, once efforts got going, the outpouring of support proved amazing.

“When I started this, I was pretty much on my own,” he said about actual work being done at the location along Hwy. 72 just west of the village’s downtown. Soon, people saw him in action, investigated more closely and eventually he had a crew of almost 20 helpers some days.

Reinier said he first presented a proposal for expanding the memorial space at the park to the local Legion Post, whose the approximately 150 members were receptive. Then, he approached the local village board, where the trustees responded positively, too, though they asked to see a drawing for his plan. That’s where his artistic wife Sue came in, creating a diagram which showed shifting the lone monument back approximately 50 feet.

The board members gave their okay, he said, but that wasn’t all he had in mind. He’s aware a small red building on the parcel originally had been a village pump house, so it seemed logical the surrounding ground would be owned by the village. Therefore, because the rest of the lot was sitting idle, he requested permission to use it for further park expansion.

For more please read the Nov. 13 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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