CORTLAND — A community project that began in 2017 recently concluded with the dedication of the final piece for the Cortland Veterans Memorial in Point Park.
On Sunday, members of the Cortland Veterans Memorial Committee gathered at the memorial to recognize major donors who contributed to the final stage, a bridge area where programs will take place with the first event scheduled for Memorial Day.
Committee member Dick McClain said: “This marks the completion of the Veterans Memorial, built in two phases. The initial phase was completed and dedicated in 2018, and now the bridge has been added.
“We wanted donors and the community to see the game and what we’ve done here. This was phase two and was still part of the original plan when the memorial was designed and presented to the city council,” he said.
He said the bridge was not intended to be added until a later date. The bridge, which overlooks the river, will serve as a stage and platform for speakers, performers, bands and other guests during Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other events.
“We raised funds and were planning to start when the pandemic hit. There were shortages of materials and manpower, which delayed this for a year. It was a very difficult time,” McClain said.
Work on the platform began in November. The bridge cost $48,000.
Gilmore Design in Cortland performed the design work.
McClain said the project’s main donors are Wollam Chevrolet Chevy All Stars, Window World and American Legion Post 540 Honor Guard. Everyone received a gift on Sunday.
Ian McAleer, chairman of the committee, said the Cortland Band and others will be able to use the bridge for performances.
He said the entire project, including the bridge, cost $210,000.
Mayor Deidre Petrosky, who was among many city officials and community members at Sunday’s ceremony, thanked the committee for their work. She also acknowledged the support of community and state officials who helped make the project possible.
Former mayor Curt Moll said he remembers when he was mayor the idea of the project that was discussed and many of the locations that were considered.
“It’s quite an achievement. I’m glad to see it’s finished. A lot of time and money has been spent on this,” Moll said.
“For me, it’s the icing on the cake in my mind to get this all done,” said Councilman John Picuri.