Veterans Memorial to move at cemetery

Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer presented a certificate of appreciation to GFWC Zehlian Club President Nancy Tofte (center) and her fellow Zehlians at the Thief River Falls City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21. The certificate was presented for their work to replace the damaged Elks Park water fountain. He also praised their successful Wine Walk.

by April Scheinoha
Reporter

The Veterans Memorial is moving at Greenwood Cemetery. At its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Thief River Falls City Council approved selling a portion of the Greenwood Cemetery property to assist with the relocation. The council approved the sale as part of its consent agenda.

TRF Veterans Memorial, a group made up of representatives from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2793 and American Legion Post 117, will purchase the property for $1. As a result, the flagpole and monument erected by VFW Post 2793 will move to a spot east of the Greenwood Trails parking area. Currently, the monument and flagpole are located on the eastern edge of Greenwood Cemetery.

Arlo Rude, president of the TRF Veterans Memorial Board, said the group plans to erect three flagpoles featuring the United States, Minnesota and POW/MIA flags. The group also plans to erect monuments for each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. In an interview with The Times, Rude noted the group is in the early stages of planning and a price tag hasn’t yet been determined. The organization recently submitted its application to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status. TRF Veterans Memorial plans to begin accepting donations after its application has been approved.

City leaders worked with the veterans groups while designing the Greenwood Street underpass and roundabout near the cemetery. American flags had lined the cemetery entrance, which had to be removed as part of the underpass project. The city also demolished its nearby cold storage building and relocated streets in the cemetery. The current veterans memorial is near an area where the city plans to eventually plat about 800 new grave sites.

Mayor Brian Holmer presented a certificate of appreciation to the GFWC Zehlian Club. The certificate was presented to the group for its work in raising funds for and facilitating the replacement of the damaged Elks Park water fountain. Holmer also praised the group’s successful Wine Walk.

Nancy Tofte, Zehlians president, presented a donation to the city on behalf of the group. It donated a painting of the original water fountain. Thief River Falls resident LaVonne Forsberg was the artist.

Tom Kalinoski and Scott Fricke, members of the Thief River Falls Splash Park Committee, appeared before the council. The group wishes to raise $297,000 to open the Splash Park by the middle of 2019 at Bill LaFave Park. The group plans to build the Splash Park through private donations and doesn’t plan to use the city’s Swimming Pool Fund to cover the costs.

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GFWC Zehlian Club President Nancy Tofte presented a painting of the old Elks Park water fountain to Mayor Brian Holmer at the Thief River Falls City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21. Thief River Falls resident LaVonne Forsberg was the artist. The Zehlians were instrumental in replacing the damaged water fountain.

Taft Street and Crocker Avenue, LaFave Park is home to the city beach. As part of this project, the Splash Park will feature sections for toddlers, teens and families. The LaFave Park bathrooms will be renovated, and other improvements are planned.

Fricke reported that the group has received $25,000 from an unnamed foundation. The committee hasn’t yet approached other area foundations. Other commitments total $3,300.

Funds are being accepted through a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/
splash-park-trf. Donations may also be addressed and mailed to the City of Thief River Falls Splash Park at P.O. Box 528, Thief River Falls, MN 56701.