With approval of a grant application to the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Platte City hopes to construct its first monument dedicated to military veterans with the anchor from the USS Platte (AO-186) serving as the centerpiece.
A three-member committee presented a conceptual design to the Platte City Parks and Recreation board last week, and the Platte City Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed to support the grant application during its Tuesday, Dec. 15 meeting. The city seeks about $38,000 from Platte County to help fund the estimated total cost of just under $76,000 to construct a pedestrian plaza and base for the anchor, which the city acquired from the owner of the scrapped U.S. Navy vessel earlier this year.
The city plans to use city labor and funding to make up the other half of the project.
Platte City alderman Vickie Atkins served as chair of the committee tasked with generating a design and employed the help of local veterans Bobby Vann and Ralph Landes. Meeting a handful of times starting in January, the concept was given to an outside company to create a digital version of the proposal for a site in Settler’s Crossing Park, located at the end of Main Street in Platte City.
The design includes a foundation of large granite boulders to support the 12-foot-by-13-foot, 13-ton anchor, a surrounding circular walkway with a bench wall containing bronze medallions for each of the five branches of the United States military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The entrance to the plaza will be inset with bronze letters stating “Dedicated to those who serve” and a previously commissioned bronze plaque detailing the history of the USS Platte, named after a river like all of the Cimarron class fleet oilers.
Base lighting is also planned.
According to the grant application, city officials believe the proposed memorial “provides a very visible and easily accessible veteran’s memorial,” and “its location in a family oriented public park along the Platte River creates a very approachable monument that ties national service symbolized by the artifact from a US Navy warship and the service medallions with the local geographic feature (the Platte River) for which that ship is named.”
The City of Platte City and the Platte City Park Board will be responsible for completing the construction of the proposed project, including supervision on the work of outside contractors.
The goal of the project is to create a space for public ceremonies as well as providing a welcoming and easily accessible memorial to a younger generation of returning veterans. The location, immediately adjacent to a section of the Platte County Master Trail Plan, could also make it attractive to Platte County officials reviewing the grant.
If constructed, the trail segment would pass through Settler’s Crossing Park within 100 feet of the memorial site as the trail follows the Platte River northeast to the Platte Falls Conservation Area.
The city believes this would represent a high quality park improvement that makes use of what officials called an “underutilized park location” in the grant application. The estimated increase in park visitors includes creating a gathering spot for public events, including Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Independence Day, as well as providing an educational display for elementary age children.
Officials hope to start work in spring of 2016 with completion of the project expected by the end of the year, pending grant approval.
Platte City has already spent a little more than $10,000, including artifact acquisition, transportation, temporary placement, plaque purchase and project design. The anchor arrived from Louisiana in March, and a welcoming ceremony was held on July 4 in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of Platte City’s founding. The distinguished guests in attendance included Charles Schley, considered a plank owner of the ship having served on its commissioning crew.
The USS Platte was launched in 1982 and decommissioned in 1999.