The City of Platte City’s plans to display an anchor have hit a snag.
With a permanent display area under construction, the proposed setting of a red-colored rock could not be located through Kansas City businesses with outside contracts. Vickie Atkins — a member of the Platte City Board of Aldermen and chairperson of a committee tasked with designing the monument — said during last week that an alternative would be sought.
The city now plans to set the 13-ton anchor recovered from a scrapped U.S. Navy vessel in concrete and then top that with a light colored granite.
“It was the best solution we could come up with while also staying within the budget,” Atkins said.
The city applied for and received a grand from the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department earlier this year, helping to fund the construction of Platte City’s first monument dedicated to military veterans.
The 12-foot-by-13-foot anchor plus chain would serve as the centerpiece with $76,000 being put toward the materials needed to surround the relic. Platte City’s public works department would do most of the work, which began this summer.
The plans called for a pedestrian plaza and base for the anchor, which the city acquired from the owner of the scrapped USS Platte (AO-186) — a decommissioned Cimarron class fleet oiler, all of which are named after rivers.
The monument is located at the entrance to Settler’s Crossing Park, located at the end of Main Street in Platte City. The original plans called for large boulders to support the anchor with a circular walkway and bench wall containing medallions for each of the five branches of the United States military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The rest of the plan remains unchanged, but after looking at an option of using fake rock for the boulders, the suggestion is to go with the granite and alter the original look. Now, the bottom of the anchor will be set into concrete with the granite laid down over the top.
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. Base lighting is also planned.
According to the grant application submitted in December of 2015, 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 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 in the future offer a trail segment that would pass through Settler’s Crossing Park within 100 feet of the memorial site, the path following the Platte River northeast to the Platte Falls Conservation Area.
The city believes this represents 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.
Work is still expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The City of Platte City spent a little more than $10,000 prior to the start of monument construction, including artifact acquisition, transportation, temporary placement, plaque purchase and project design. The anchor arrived from Louisiana in March of 2015, and a welcoming ceremony was held on July 4 of that year in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of Platte City’s founding.
The USS Platte was launched in 1982 and decommissioned in 1999.