Originally created 02/08/98

Park needs $70,000 in month for goal



AIKEN -- Fund-raisers for the Aiken Veterans' Memorial Park will have to raise more than $70,000 in a month in order for the park to be finished by Memorial Day, one of the group's leaders said at a Saturday rally.

"We didn't get the numbers I had hoped for today, but if everyone in this room would go and sell five bricks ... it can be done by March," said Ed Hammons, finance chairman of the veterans' coalition.

Nearly 100 people attended the rally at the University of South Carolina Aiken gymnasium.

Mr. Hammons encouraged supporters to go to area businesses to sell the $100 bricks that are the primary funding source for the $150,000 veterans' memorial to be built on Richland Avenue.

The memorial will consist of a 15-foot wide fountain, a 15-foot by 25-foot American flag and a monument made of polished granite bricks. The bricks will be engraved with the inscriptions of whoever buys them.

Buyers of multiple bricks can arrange to have the bricks grouped together, so that their inscriptions can be read together.

The monument also will be engraved with a list of all the war veterans from Aiken County who died in action. The group is still waiting on some final reports, but the current list has 152 names, Mr. Hammons said.

Andy Leagate, group treasurer, said the group has been getting 130-140 donations per week.

"Most days, I have to fight to get all those donations out of the mailbox," he told the crowd.

The veterans' coalition has received more than $79,000 so far, he said. The group has sold 489 bricks so far.

"In the past four weeks, I've put in more than 175 bricks," Mr. Leagate said.