Columbus in favor of Charters of Freedom at Vets Park

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Letter to be signed by Polk County, town for location

COLUMBUS — The town of Columbus seems on board with the county’s plan to house the Charters of Freedom display at Veterans Park.

The Columbus Town Council met Thursday and heard from Councilman Robert Williamson about the plans.

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Members of the Polk County Board of Commissioners met recently and gave consensus that they are in favor of the Charters of Freedom being located at Veterans Park if Columbus approved it.

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

County commissioners tasked the Polk County Appearance Commission with finding a location for the Charters of Freedom, with the commission recommending Veterans Park in Columbus. The town of Columbus owns Veterans Park so the county and town will work together on the location and maintenance of the structures.

Williamson told other council members last week that the casings are designed to last 300 years. He said there is a time capsule in the back of one for the county and town to put items in.

“They are built to last,” Williamson said.

He described the potential location, saying they will look up toward the House of Flags Museum and the curbed sidewalk already exists.

He said should council approve the location, he will take a joint letter from the mayor and county commission granting Foundation Forward access to the site.

The site will have to be level and clear for the foundation to come and install the structures. The county plans to pay to have the site leveled and cleared, Williamson said.

“I like the idea; I just have one question,” said Councilman Mark Phillips. “Have we told the veterans to see how they would feel?”

Williamson said he has already had meetings with Veterans of Foreign War posts and the honor guard as well as the Veterans Park Committee.

Williamson said once council approves the location, a letter will be drafted and both the county and the town can sign it publicly.