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Panel wants to build veterans museum in Dixon

Group also poised to pay off loan from city

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 1:16 a.m. CST

DIXON – With enough money in its coffers to pay back the city, the Veterans Memorial Park Commission is moving on to its next big idea.

The commission hopes to build an 8,000-square-foot museum on the north end of the park, member Charles Thomas told the City Council Monday evening.

The commission isn’t asking for any money, but it does want the council’s blessing, Thomas said.

The city fronted the group $50,000 so the lot at 1219 Palmyra St., where the F-105 Thunderchief fighter plane sits, could be added to the park. The final $10,000 payment will be made “at a later point,” although the commission has raised enough money, said its new chairman, Jim James.

“We’ve done a lot over the last 11 years with the relatively small amount of money that we’ve made,” Thomas said.

The next phase would involve creating a museum foundation to raise the estimated $1 million – primarily through grants – needed to plan and build a museum and a parking lot.

Its board members would be appointed by the mayor, according to a presentation submitted to the council. The creation of a foundation board and any appointments would require a council vote.

“It’s in the explore stage right now,” James said. “We’re researching everything. I want to stress, though, this will not go ahead until we have the favor of all the commissioners.”

The commission is looking into interactive exhibits, Thomas said, though he added that those are “pretty expensive.” The museum also would have a professional curator, according to documents.

“It’s to educate everybody in the community about the citizens, the men and women in this area, that have sacrificed and given their lives, and basically to have any kind of artifacts that came from those families on display in the museum,” James said.

Schools have brought students through the headquarters to see the artifacts already on display, he said. The commission wants to increase their ability to do that.

“They have a wonderful collection of artifacts out there already in cramped quarters,” Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said, voicing his support for the project.

To help

To buy a legacy stone, to donate outright, or to get an application to volunteer at Veterans Memorial Park, call Rich Sanders, 815-288-5093, and leave a message.

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