Bikers Protest Veterans Memorial Demolition Plan

In a show of support, bikers rally against plans to tear down Franklin County Veterans Memorial.
In a show of support, bikers rally against plans to tear down Franklin County Veterans Memorial.

More than a hundred motorcyclists rallied Saturday at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial. They were protesting plans by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation to tear down the memorial and replace it with an amphitheater.

Steve Ebersole speaks for the local American Legion district, one of the groups opposed to the memorial’s demolition. Ebersole says what developers really want is the real estate.

“What they want to do is take the rest of the 17 acres – the 12 acres on the back half – and build up apartments and condos. So in my opinion it is purposely a land grab,” Ebersole says.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says he wants what he calls a “true memorial to our veterans.” Guy Worley, head of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation says there’s no reason why the city can’t be home to the best veterans’ memorial in the U.S. Both men support tearing down the almost 60-year-old building with its auditorium, meeting and office space and replacing it with an amphitheater. But the American Legion’s Ebersole says public support is against demolition.

“Veterans as a whole in this community do not want the memorial torn down,” Ebersole says.

Last month the development corporation said that a new 25-million-dollar memorial would be paid for by Les and Abigail Wexner.

  • Gary Smith

    This is not an accurate description by Mr. Hendren, and in fact misleading. The proposal is to replace it with a nicer, more appropriately honoring memorial, not “an amphitheater”. I’ve been to the current Vets – which is an auditorium and attached, glorified convention sales space. The last several times I visited, the actual “memorial” area was filled with fold up tables and stacked chairs. Tragically inappropriate way to honor our vets!

  • William Shutt

    Gary Smith is the one who is not accurate! I am a member of the American Legion post 164 in Grove City and have been working at the Franklin County Courthouse for over 29 years. The proposal that is being presented by the CDDC WILL put an amphitheater on the site, WILL add retail stores to the site and does NOT include office space for the Veterans Services Commission along with the American Legion. The CDDC proposed memorial would be built on 5 acres of land. The remaining 12 acres would be used for non-veteran based activities such as the development of residential homes and retail shops. I hope they do better than the “City Center” did.
    I was at Vets yesterday in support of the American Legions proposal and I will be attending the County Commissioners meeting regarding the sales tax increase to help fund the demolition of Vets.
    Hey Gary, where were you yesterday?