How it Began

When Saint Peter lost seven young men in the Vietnam War, people in this community began talking about the need to provide a memorial honoring, not only those seven young men, but all veterans from this area who lost their lives while serving our nation.

Approval Process

On August 17, 2011 seven local citizens met to discuss the idea of finding a suitable location for a memorial, determining an appropriate concept plan, obtaining the approval for the site and the plan, and raising the funds to construct it. Originally, Committee anticipated that it might take up to two, or even three years to complete the project. The actual approval process took over three years and along the way the “committee” learned about how strongly many in this community feel about honoring veterans, and also how strongly many feel about what goes into our parks. All of the input received during this process led to a much better design for a Memorial as well as a great deal of public awarness of this project. As the “committee” became a 501c3 organization it evolved into an “Association” and gained several additional members. The City Council ultimately approved the request to locate a memorial at the corner of College Ave. and Minnesota Ave. in Minnesota Square Park on August 25, 2014, and requested the City staff to develop “criteria” for a new design of the memorial. On September 16, 2014, City Manager Todd Prafke drafted a memo that listed six “Principles” and sixteen “Criteria” “to give the Parks Board and the Veterans Memorial Committee both imagery and some practical guidance on what the Council wishes to see” in the final concept design for the memorial. Using those principles and criteria the Committee went “back to the drawing board” and started over designing a memorial that would hopefully be approved by the City. On February 17, 2015, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board passed Resolution 2015, recommending the Saint Peter Area Veterans Memorial Association site plans be included in the Master Parks Plan. On March 25, 2015 the City Council approved the revised concept plan for the Veterans Memorial based on the principles and criteria provided.

The Memorial

The principles and criteria ultimately led to a design that is simple, respectful and powerful. The two focal points are the “Peace and Freedom” statue that is flanked by two black granite “Service Walls” (that begin at three feet in height and rise to six feet, and contains the names of anyone who has honorably served this country in the military, and the “Honor Wall” that is a six foot high black granite wall that encloses a reflective space for honoring those soldiers from this area, who are missing in action, or who have died while serving their country. The design of the “Peace and Freedom” statue will be recommended by a committee made up of members of the Veterans Memorial Association Board, a representative(s) of the donor(s) for the statue, a member of the Parks Board and a member of the local Arts Center, to the City Council for their final approval. Proposals will be submitted through a design competition after funding has been secured for this portion of the project. The statue will be designed to represent “peace and freedom” which is the reason why so many have been willing to serve, and some have given their life. The Service Wall lists anyone (from anywhere) who has served in the United States military and is either currently serving or has completed their service. Anyone can place the name of someone who meets this criteria on this wall for a fee of $200. (This fee will increase to $250 after December 31st, 2016.) Service members listed on this wall do NOT have to be from the Saint Peter area, in fact, people are encouraged to place the names of any relative who may have served this nation from the Revolutionary War thru currant conflicts, on this wall. The Honor Wall list includes men and women from the Saint Peter area, who have died while in the service of their country, from the Civil War through current wars, and will have the names (and photos when possible) of any person from the Saint Peter area (defined as approximately a ten mile radius from Saint Peter) who remain missing in action or who died while in the service of their country, placed on this wall at no cost to their family. Additionally names of service members from Nicollet County or Le Sueur County, who died while serving their country, but who are from outside the ten mile radius, may be placed on this wall for a fee of $500, the approximate cost for engraving a photo and the information that will be provided. It is up to the friends and family of deceased military veterans to apply to have their names placed on the Honor Wall. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to provide verification of the home address of the veteran when he/she entered the military, and when the person died while in the military. This can be done from newspaper articles or from copies of formal notice from the military. In cases of early conflicts such as the Civil War, the applicant will provide whatever is available, and the Association will do it’s best to confirm the information.

Funding

The goal of the SPAVMA is to raise the funds for construction of this memorial within a year, and to have the memorial completed within one year after all funds are raised. The initial estimated cost for this project is approximately $475,000 for the memorial plus an additional $100,000 for the statue, and a goal of an additional $25,000 to initiate an ongoing perpetual maintenance fund for the City to care for this memorial, and for adding additional names to the Honor Wall as necessary. The final estimated costs cannot be determined until final plans and specifications are completed. The goal for funding this entire project is $600,000 Anticipated funding sources are: Memorial Wall names at $200/name, goal of 1500 to 1800 names – $300,000 – $360,000. Statue Sponsor(s) – $100,000 Major Donors and grants ($500 and up) will be listed on a separate plaque on the base of the three flags – $100,000 The Major Donors list will have the following breakdown designations: $500 – $1499 $1,500 – $4,999 $5,000 – $9,999 $10,000 – $14,999 $15,000 – $24,999 $25,000 – $49,999 $50,000 – $99,999 $100,000 – and up The only monuments in the St. Peter area dedicated to the men and women who have gone to war to defend the principles of what America is all about, Freedom and Peace, are the tombstones lost in an obscure cemetery in a remote and generally unknown location. These men and women deserve something greater than that. This is a very expensive project for a community of this size: however, we are building a memorial that will be a landmark for this community, representing how this community appreciates the individuals who have been willing to serve and protect their country. We believe this memorial is something that all citizens will appreciate and of which all will be proud.