Many agree a veterans memorial would be a fine addition to Orange Township, but the future of a project in the works for years remains uncertain.
Township trustees May 21 declined to vote on two agenda items that would have allocated $7,000 for survey and design work for a grading plan at the northeast corner of South Old State and Orange roads.
Trustees removed the items from the agenda after tabling them at previous meetings.
Township property at the intersection -- where the historic Old Orange Township hall sits -- was considered the front-runner for the memorial site, but plans were put on hold after Delaware County last year started work on a $15 million project to widen South Old State Road and add turn lanes.
The contractor on the road project, Kenmore Co., used a lot at the intersection near the old township hall as a staging area for construction equipment. In exchange, the company offered to provide grading work at the site for free.
Roadwork is expected to wrap up this year and the company cannot grade the site without plans in hand, said Beth Hugh, maintenance and parks director.
The design and theme of the memorial was part of a 2014 contest that was won by Orange High School students.
It features a granite statue of a waving American flag at the center of a star. It also features a pentagon-shaped area with paver bricks and flagpoles flying the flag of each military branch.
Two companies have "volunteered to take that concept and put it into a design," Hugh said. "We need the survey work for that."
One of the sticking points is taking the sketch to a firm plan that can be used for construction estimates.
Lisa Knapp, chairwoman of the board of trustees, said there is "no urgency to have grading done for something we have no specific written plans for."
The memorial is "just conceptual at this point," Knapp said. "We all thought it was concrete, but it turns out it was just a drawing."
Former trustee Rob Quigley helped spearhead the project. He lost a re-election bid in November but said he believes his former colleagues remain "fully behind" the project, although "the wavering does not help the discussion."
Quigley said he hopes to present new information -- including cost estimates and potential fundraising ideas -- in a public forum for trustees and residents.
"I want to clarify everything in public. It's not about any one individual; it's about the community," Quigley said. "This is about doing something for the veterans."
Cost estimates have varied throughout the years. Quigley said quotes for the work he's heard this year are "significantly less" than previous totals -- in the $80,000 range for "base work."
That work would include final site grading, laying the paver bricks and constructing the base for the flagpoles. It's estimated it would cost another $20,000 for the flagpoles and flags, Quigley said.
Those estimates are based on the existing design, with the brick paver area measuring 50 feet on each side, Quigley said.
Trustees in 2014 opened an account for donations through the nonprofit Delaware County Foundation and have a page dedicated to the project at the township's website, tinyurl.com/orangememorial.
So far, the fund has raised about $25,000, officials said.
At the May 21 meeting, township resident Ben Grumbles urged trustees to move forward with the project, saying it's a matter of "execution," not community support.
The project is a "moving target because there's no plan. We're not where we need to be from a structure standpoint," Grumbles said. "The township needs to align the community. I think right now, it's, unfortunately, a point of discontent in the community, and it should be all good."
Trustee Ryan Rivers -- who defeated Quigley to win his first term on the board in November -- said he hopes to hold a forum with residents soon.
Township Administrator Lee Bodnar said officials are weighing what type of meeting format would work best. He said the township can spend only $5,000 of public funds on the project per state law.
"I think the board is looking to provide help where it can. It's basically a private project -- we're limited by Ohio law on what we can provide," Bodnar said. "The board is looking at what it needs to feel comfortable in moving forward."
The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 4, at Township Hall, 1680 E. Orange Road.