Dubuque racing group hopes to build $3.4M veterans memorial

August 20, 2018

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Dubuque racing group hopes to spend $3.4 million on a veterans memorial for an island in the Mississippi River that’ll include walkways, a waterfall and a sculpture.

The Dubuque Racing Association Board of Directors is expected to vote on the project in Veterans Memorial Plaza during their monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Telegraph Herald reported.

The memorial sculpture entitled “Skyward” would honor local World War II veteran Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt, who was aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, when the ship was torpedoed and eventually capsized. He was one of more than 400 crew members who died in the attack.

The project will also need approval from the Dubuque City Council and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission before it can move forward.

The proposed project comes more than two years after the DRA approved the formation of a committee tasked with identifying possible improvements for the island.

If the project is approved, DRA officials would expect to break ground next spring.

“If all goes well, we hope to be cutting the ribbon on it on Veterans Day of 2019,” said Kevin Lynch, a member of the DRA board’s island task force.

The project would be funded by the DRA, said Rick Dickinson, board chairman of the DRA. The organization receives contributions from Q Casino and Diamond Jo Casino.

“I think we finally hit on something that everybody can agree on it,” said Q Casino and Hotel CEO Jesus Aviles. “It will be great for the community, great for the veterans and a place of solace and reflection.”

Upgrades to the veterans plaza should pave the way for further improvements, DRA officials said.

“It definitely is not the end (of improvements to the island), but it is a great beginning,” Dickinson said.


Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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