The Jerome Township trustees don't want the Soldiers Monument at U.S. 42 and Industrial Parkway to play in traffic anymore.
"The statue is 10 feet away from the road," said trustee Bob Merkle. "We want to protect it by moving it some 50 yards back and creating a park around it."
The Soldiers Monument was erected in 1913.
"We wanted to start this project now because it's the100th anniversary of the dedication of the statue," Merkle said. "A Jerome Township citizen made a bequest back then of $250 for the statue with the understanding that the trustees would come up with twice that amount to erect a monument in honor of our Civil War veterans."
The monument now bears the names of about 400 Jerome Township citizens who volunteered to defend their country, from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish-American War.
Most of those honored by the statue -- 367 -- served in the Civil War. With a population of only 1,400 back then, Jerome Township "had one of the state's, if not the nation's highest per-capita enlistment rates," Merkle said.
The trustees estimate that the project -- which will be executed in three phases -- will cost anywhere from $200,000 to $250,000. They will soon launch a campaign to collect donations to defray the cost.
"That figure might be rather high," Merkle said. "It all depends on how much volunteer help we get and how much we raise through donations. The first phase of the project, restoring and moving the monument back from the road, building a new foundation for it, will cost roughly $70,000."
This spring, Columbus Art Memorial will dismantle the monument, which was designed in sections. The company also will restore and reinstall the monument in its new location, on a new base.
Additional parts of the project to be completed this year include a parking lot for visitors, a walkway from the lot to and around the monument, and lighting. The surrounding 1-acre park will be developed in following years.
The memorial will be rededicated this fall, at a date to be announced. The ceremony will replicate key parts of the original dedication ceremony, which was led on Memorial Day of 1913 by surviving Civil War veterans from Jerome Township.
"The monument has a time-capsule inside it and I'm sure that will go straight to the Union County Historical Society for safe-keeping," Merkle said. "We're planning to put another time-capsule inside the monument and wondering what media to use.
"Forty years ago, we might have used an eight-track tape," Merkle said with a laugh. "Maybe acid-free paper is our safest bet?"
Of the Jerome Township volunteers, 75 died in service and 17 are buried in the New California Church Cemetery.
For more information or to make a donation, call the trustees at 614-873-4480.