Saturday, October 2, 2004

VOA park to take on Reagan name

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A Butler County commissioner won one for the Gipper. The county is renaming its newest park to honor the late President Reagan.

A 200-acre portion of the former Voice of America site will be named at 4 p.m. Tuesday for the president credited with speeding up the end of the Cold War.

What had been known as the Butler County MetroParks' Freedom's Voice Reserve - and unofficially as that big sledding hill and lake at Cox and Hamilton-Mason roads - will be dedicated as Ronald Reagan's Voice of Freedom Park.

"From that field of concrete and steel towers, the message of freedom was delivered to an enslaved world behind the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall - and that message crushed those walls," Butler commissioner Michael A. Fox said.

After Reagan's June death, Fox suggested West Chester Township trustees rename their adjacent 330-acre park - where President Bush spoke Monday - in honor of the 40th president, who played the "Gipper" in Knute Rockne, All American.

Fox later passed the idea to Greg Amend, MetroParks board chairman. The board OK'd the change last month.

The ceremony will be in the parking lot, close to where a bait shop, boat rental office, restrooms and a meeting hall will be built.

The Voice of America Bethany station made pro-democracy broadcasts to Europe, South America and Africa in 1944-94.



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