The Savanna Veterans Memorial Committee submitted the following report to the Savanna Times-Journal. The committee plans to submit regular updates on the project which will be published in the Times-Journal.

The Savanna Veterans Memorial Committee will resume construction on the veteran's memorial early in May and hopes to have the memorial nearly completed by November of this year, though some final work on the parking area and access road may be delayed until 2020.

According to vice chair Jeff Doran, the committee also decided at a recent meeting to defer the official opening and dedication ceremony until Memorial Day 2020.

The group's fundraising efforts have progressed very well, having raised over $130,000. Fundraising to complete the memorial will now focus primarily on two fronts: the sale of additional pavers honoring local veterans and pursuing grant funding that may be available through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

State Sen. Neil Anderson and State Rep. Tony McCombie along with Mayor Chris Lain and the City of Savanna are supporting the group's efforts to qualify for DCEO grant funding.

The City of Savanna, at its April 23 City Council meeting, passed a resolution of support to the State of Illinois on behalf of the Savanna Veterans Memorial for two Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity—Grant Management Initiative programs.

In addition, the city submitted two grant applications to DCEO on April 25 on behalf of the Memorial Committee and hopes to hear within 60 days whether any grant funding can be made available to assist with the memorial project.

The main fundraiser from the beginning of the project has been the sale of 12-inch by 6-inch granite memory bricks, also known as pavers, engraved with a veteran's name and service information. The cost of each paver is a donation of $150 which is tax deductible.

The Veterans Memorial Committee has sold 422 pavers to date and have approximately 200 remaining to sell prior to the memorial dedication on Memorial Day 2020.

The pavers will be installed and displayed on two 21-foot concrete paver walls which will be one of the central attractions of the memorial. The engraved pavers will be installed on the paver walls in two phases — one later this summer and the second phase next spring prior to the memorial opening and dedication.

The memorial committee is encouraging residents who haven't already done so to purchase pavers to remember and honor their loved ones, living or dead, who served our country. Jeff Doran expressed the group's sentiment at a recent meeting when he said, "We want to honor our community of veterans, past and present. What better way to remember their service than a paver that will memorialize their contribution for generations to come."

To purchase a paver, residents can visit the veterans memorial website at www.savannaveteransmemorial.org. There are answers to Most Frequently Asked Questions as well as information on how and where to seek military records for family veterans. A Veterans Memorial Paver Form with complete directions is also available for downloading.

Completed paver forms and a donation check in the amount of $150 payable to the Savanna Illinois Veterans Memorial Project may be mailed to: Savanna Veterans Memorial Project, P.O. Box 72, Savanna, IL 61074-0072.

Questions may be directed to Paul Mayer, finance officer, at 815-273-3077. The committee may also be contacted at info@savannaveteransmemorialorg.

Last summer the community was able to watch the completion of the new Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge. This summer residents will be able to observe the completion of another community landmark, the Savanna Veterans Memorial. Or will it be Patriots Park? Or, perhaps, Defenders of Peace Memorial Park?

More in the coming weeks on the naming of the memorial. Keep your suggestions coming. Text or call Dave Engaldo at 815-666-7598 or email dengaldo@yahoo.com.