Central Ohio Veterans Ready To Fight For Memorial

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Veterans groups in central Ohio said they stand ready to fight once again -- this time, for what is already theirs.

Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Downtown Columbus would be demolished under a plan now before city and county officials.

The more than 100-year-old tribute to the tens of thousands of Ohio's military veterans would be torn down to make way for a redevelopment plan that would include a downtown zoo exhibit, residential homes and retails shops.

The history at Veterans Memorial dates back to the Civil War.

And if the walls could talk, they would tell a story of tragedy and triumph, victory and defeat.

"And I as a veteran, a former military person will fight this until I die!" said retired Air Force Colonel Joseph Vogel.

The current plan, presented by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, would demolish the memorial to make way for a smaller venue and interactive museum.

Vogel said he is proudly coming out of retirement to fight this plan.

"Before the blood has dried on the last body of the last soldier that's died in the last conflict in Afghanistan, they're going to want to destroy this building which represents all of the veterans," Vogel said.

And he's not alone in this fight.

The American Legion 12th District, representing more than 4,500 veterans in central Ohio, gathered on Wednesday night and passed a resolution supporting an alternate plan.

It calls for renovation to, rather than demolition of, the current structure.

"It's like stabbing us in the back. Because there's nothing other for the veterans in Columbus other than this building," said American Legion 12th District Post Commander Gary Fast. "And this is for us."

The Franklin County Commissioners will vote on what plan to move forward on, but a vote has not yet been taken, nor has one been scheduled.

"This is our history right here," said Fast. "We have no other place than here."

The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation declined 10TV’s request for an interview.

Instead, they provided a link to CDDC Scioto Peninsula Master Plan, which includes Veterans Memorial.

Here is a link to the Franklin County Veterans Memorial Board of Trustees' plan.

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