Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
St. Marys to move memorial to Guard
By Sydney Albert
ST. MARYS - With the future of the St. Marys Armory building uncertain, city officials have agreed to move a monument dedicated to past National Guard members from the property to Memorial Park.
A monument dedicated to Sgts. Melvin E. Wisecup and Wayne C. Wingate, members of the 837th Engineer Co. who lost their lives on Lake Erie in 1988, will be relocated across the street.
The armory building is being vacated by the Ohio National Guard, with the company relocating to the Lima Armory. Some current and former unit members expressed concern over the future of the monument when the building passes to a new owner, safety service director Greg Foxhoven said at Monday's council meeting.
Unit members had reportedly asked city officials to relocate the monument.
"We feel the best location is across the street to Memorial Park, which seems most appropriate and easy to do regarding logistics," Foxhoven wrote in an email.
In a letter to the city, Richard Musser, a retired major of the National Guard, thanked city officials for their help.
"I can not tell you how much we appreciate everything you are doing for the members of our Guard Unit. This monument means so much to the members of the 837th Engineer Co. who lost these two fellow soldiers on Lake Erie in 1988," the letter reads. "The members of the unit did not hesitate to raise the $1,500 it took to remember and honor their brothers. With the armory closing soon and the fate of that monument unsure, the City of St. Marys stepping up means the world to us."
A memorandum from the Guard states the monument on the front lawn of the armory was purchased and paid for by former members of the 837th Engineer Co. and is not property of Guard or the state. The memorandum granted permission to the former members of the company to relocate the monument to any location they believed would best honor the memory and service of the soldiers identified on the monument.
Foxhoven also said city officials spoke with Maj. Gen. John Harris in a teleconference last week. Harris had reportedly extended his apologies to the city, saying members of his staff had moved more quickly than anticipated, and the city should have been notified of the move from the armory in advance. Harris promised to keep city officials informed.
The fate of the armory is uncertain, but Foxhoven said he is working to arrange a tour of the facility so officials can see the interior and get a feel for its potential.
Council members also,
• passed under rule suspension an emergency ordinance setting pay rates and fringe benefits for St. Marys police sergeants represented by the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. The three-year contract included raises of 2.5% in 2021, 2.5% in 2022 and 2.75% in 2023.
• passed under rule suspension two emergency ordinances levying special assessments for curb, gutter, sidewalk and drive approach improvements made for the 2019 Cheshire Drive and Cumberland Drive reconstruction project and the 2020 street program.
• passed under rule suspension various supplemental appropriations, including $386,000 to design a sludge press facility for the city sewage plant. The press would dewater solids from the sewage plant, and officials believe it could potentially save the city money over time.
• scheduled a finance committee meeting for 5:15 p.m. Nov. 30.