February 22, 2014

Military Service Walk being built in Columbus


Associated Press

— Work is under way on a Military Service Walk in Woodruff Park, between Columbus State University’s Corn Center for the Visual Arts and the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.

The walk is designed to honor those who have served in the military throughout history by spotlighting the sacrifice they and their loved ones bear for their service, according to Stuart Rayfield, director of Columbus State University’s Servant Leadership Program. The project was conceived and launched by students in the program.

Organizers are collecting correspondence between soldiers and their loved ones, from the American Revolution to Afghanistan, Rayfield said. They can be letters, post cards, love notes, e-mails, even Tweets and Facebook posts.

Excerpts from the correspondences will be emblazoned on permanent granite markers along the walk. In addition to the excerpts, the monuments will have the service member’s name and where and when he or she served.

So far, the project has raised about $250,000 in private donations, which is enough to construct the walk and put up eight monuments, Rayfield said. More monuments are planned as more funding is raised.

Uptown Columbus is holding the donations, so anyone wanting to donate to make more memorials possible can contact Uptown Columbus at 706-596-0111 or Rayfield at CSU at 706-507-8773. In addition to monetary donations, submissions of correspondence are being sought from the loved ones.

Donations can also be dropped off at any CB&T branch, Rayfield said.

Landscape architect Gary Gullatte, who designed the walk and is overseeing construction, said the area will be separated from the rest of Woodruff Park by earthen berms to provide a degree of separation and will feature low walls for seating and a flag plaza.

“It will be an area for reflection and for people to remember and appreciate,” Gullatte said.

Construction is under way and is expected to be complete in late spring of this year, weather permitting, Gullatte said.