Veterans Park recommended as Charters of Freedom site

Published 8:00 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

Polk commissioners to meet with Columbus on location

COLUMBUS — The Polk County Appearance Commission is recommending that local leaders place the Charters of Freedom, a gift to the county, at Veterans Park in Columbus.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from appearance commission chair Joe Cooper, as well as House of Flags Museum and Columbus Councilman Robert Williamson, whom the appearance commission asked to consult on the location.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The county was gifted the Charters of Freedom last year by Foundation Forward Inc. The Charters of Freedom are displays of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Cooper told commissioners the appearance commission looked all over town for possible locations, including Stearns Park and the courthouse.

“We were unanimous that the Veterans Park would be the location for these monuments,” Cooper said.

Williamson visited other Charters of Freedom sites and spoke of how unique Polk County will be, in that it will have the displays at Veterans Park, with the only flag museum in the country next door.

Williamson said the next logical step would be for the county to meet with the Columbus Town Council about the recommended location. Columbus owns Veterans Park.

Some discussion ensued regarding a recommendation from the appearance commission that the county and Columbus partner to build public restrooms at Veterans Park.

“We see this as an opportunity to have collaboration with the town,” Williamson said. “We have no visible public restrooms.”

Commissioner Chair Tommy Melton said he does not see the county spending money on bathrooms when there are bathrooms within walking distance to Veterans Park.

Williamson said the restrooms in the courthouse annex are often locked, especially when events are happening at Veterans Park.

“I’ll support them if Columbus wants to buy them and put them in,” Melton said.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he thinks Veterans Park is a great location for the Charters of Freedom. He said he went and saw the one in Buncombe County, which is across the road from the courthouse.

Commissioners came to a consensus that they are in favor of the Veterans Park location for the Charters of Freedom and will make sure the Columbus Council approves of the location as well before officially approving it.