Plans To Demolish Vets Memorial Move Forward

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The east facade of Veterans Memorial faces the Scioto River and downtown Columbus(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)
The east facade of Veterans Memorial faces the Scioto River and downtown Columbus(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)

Veterans Memorial has moved one step closer to the wrecking ball. Franklin County Commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with a plan to demolish the facility. Some local veterans remain upset by the county’s decision.

Even though the fate of Vets Memorial was sealed several months ago, some veterans came to the meeting hoping for a miracle. But it was not to be. The 60-year-old facility will be demolished says Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks.

“We moved the new and improved Veterans Memorial facility further on,” Brooks said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to spend $587,000 to hire a firm that will draw up demolition plans. Afterward, several veterans said they were baffled.

“It seems so stupid. We’re going to tear down a 4,000-seat auditorium.

“It’s worth a great deal of money, and now they’re just going to tear it down. Seems kind of crazy.”

But retired Army Major General Dennis Laich who chairs the military advisory committee for the new memorial says the old facility is outdated. He called for Central Ohio’s veterans to unite around the new memorial and museum.

“I understand that there’s emotion and familiarity with the existing facility; it has served well. But I think at some point we as a veteran’s community need to come together, recognize the benefits of the new facility and move on in a united way,” Laich says.

Commissioner Brooks says one of the roles of the new Vets Memorial will be to educate the public about the role and necessity of a strong U.S. military.

“America needs to maintain our strength. In order to maintain our strength a democracy needs to educate its citizens. That’s what this will do,” says Brooks.

But veterans advocate Sharon Lytle thinks the county is making a terrible mistake.

“It’s a horrible decision. And it will impact not only this generation of vets, but also future generations who are currently serving,” Lytle says.

Demolition could begin as early as December.