North St. Paul veterans vie for state funds

Dan Fisher of the VFW Post 1350, left, speaks in support of a request to set aside $100,000 of state funds to complete the North St. Paul Veterans Park Memorial. State Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, right, presented the bill to the State and Local Government Committee on March 11. (Submitted photo)

Members of the North St. Paul Veterans Park Memorial committee, state legislators and North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn spoke at the state Capitol March 11, supporting a bill that would fund the city’s memorial park project. The request will go to the Senate floor as part of an omnibus bill. (Submitted photo)

A Senate committee recently advanced a bonding request that would put $100,000 of state funds towards the North St. Paul Veterans Park Memorial.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, is being folded into an omnibus bill and sent to the Senate floor for consideration. 

North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn, state Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul, and members of the memorial park committee, Dan Fisher and Tom Trost, presented testimony on March 11, primarily trying to convince the State Departments and Veterans Division of the project’s regional or statewide significance.

Engraved pavers are being sold to fund the memorial, which would be located on Margaret Street on land that used to be Cannon Park abutting Highway 36. The pavers have been bought by residents of the Twin Cities and places as far-flung as California.

“Many people who have purchased pavers are not even from the community, but have an interest in having their family members remembered,” Kuehn said.

For at least the past few years, the Veteran’s Memorial Park Foundation has lead the effort to establish a public space where anyone can offer tribute to veterans.

Work on the memorial has been a combined effort between the American Legion Post 39, the VFW Post 1350, the North High School Air Force Junior ROTC and the city.

The memorial committee has already raised more than $80,000 for the project.

Pavers can be purchased by anyone to honor veterans’ military service.

For more information on pavers, contact Joe Zakrzewski, of the American Legion, at 651-773-8526.

— Kaitlyn Roby

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