Friday, March 12, 2004

Stoker seeks different vets site

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Trustee Catherine Stoker wants to battle the county over the proposed site of a veterans' monument.

Butler County Commissioner Michael A. Fox says the county wants to erect memorials in West Chester and Hanover townships with $50,000 in federal Community Development block grant funds.

Stoker says the proposed West Chester site is a county-owned parcel without parking, at the busy intersection of West Chester and Cincinnati-Dayton roads across from the township police station.

"It seems to me that they should put it in a place with room for people to congregate," said Stoker, a Democrat who is running for commissioner against Republican Fox in November. "The township would love to work with the county to select a site, perhaps in a cemetery or in a park."

That may happen.

Donna Everson, Butler County Community Development administrator, said no decisions have been made on where to spend the $50,000, which was added at the last minute to the county's federal funds request in February.

The money will be allocated as a 50 percent matching grant to groups - possibly veterans' organizations or local governments - that submit proposals, and can pay for half the monument, she said. Hanover Township trustees originally requested $60,000 last year for the full cost of erecting a veterans' monument in a township park, she said.

"How we're going to do this has not been determined. It may be on a first-come, first-served basis," Everson said.

"This is a brand new program."

Stoker suggested that the three commissioners - all seeking re-election in November - want a memorial erected in West Chester, the county's most populous township, strictly for political reasons.

"I don't want to sound like sour grapes," she said, "but there are a lot of votes in West Chester."


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