Progress has been made on the 0.267-acre plot just east of Fire Station 111, and the city hopes the transition from empty lot to First Responders' Park will be completed this spring.

Progress has been made on the 0.267-acre plot just east of Fire Station 111, and the city hopes the transition from empty lot to First Responders' Park will be completed this spring.

"Of course, everything is weather-permitting," said Michael Hooper, Westerville Parks and Recreation development administrator.

So far, a double-sided brick memorial wall has been constructed at the site on West Main Street. It includes the engraved bricks that were purchased by residents for the site. The wall is waiting for a limestone cap before it's completed, Hooper said, and the eventual goal is to light the wall, as well.

The foundations for the World Trade Center steel and the eternal flame sculpture have been poured, and the next step will be to have underground conduit placed and the site regraded to support an elevated plaza.

The city will wait to put the World Trade Center steel into the park until closer to completion in order to discourage people from walking through the construction area, said Westerville firefighter Tom Ullom, founder of the Westerville Firefighters Memorial Inc., who helped secure the steel for the city.

"We don't want to put the steel up until the other parts, like the walkway, are in," he said.

Once the completion date is closer, Ullom said he will be working with the city to set a dedication date and organize an event.

As construction on the park progresses, community members also continue to work to raise funds for the Westerville Firefighters' Memorial, a bronze sculpture titled "The Crossing" that was designed in honor of fallen Westerville firefighter David Theisen.

In 2010, the Westerville Firefighters Memorial fund plans to increase its efforts to make the memorial a reality.

"We're really kicking it up here," Ullom said. "We're hanging about at the $50,000 mark, and we need $153,000."

A silent auction at the "Night of Heroes Gala" hosted by the Westerville Division of Fire as part of its 150th anniversary celebration is planned to be a major fundraiser for the memorial.

There also will be a bicycle tour held May 29 to coincide with the community's Field of Heroes to raise money, and the CME Federal Credit Union is organizing a golf outing and has chosen firefighters' memorial as its charity of the month for February.

Planning for a motorcycle poker run scheduled for this summer also is under way, Ullom said.

Once the fundraising is completed and an order is placed, it will take about a year to complete the sculpture, Ullom said.

The memorial fund only needed a $30,000 down payment to contract the work, but Ullom said those organizing the fundraisers would like to get closer to their goal before the piece is commissioned.

"Obviously, we don't want to go there until we have the money on hand or the majority of money on hand or pledged," he said.

Even though there is still work to be done before the firefighters' memorial is in place, Ullom said it's rewarding to see progress on the West Main Street site.

"It's been really great. It's just been something else, driving by," Ullom said. "For 12 years, I've been driving by that site, wondering if it would happen, and now you can see it coming together."

For more information about the Westerville Firefighters Memorial, visit wffmemorial.org.