Friday, June 11, 2004

Notion: Name VOA park after Reagan

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - The president who helped end the Cold War should have his name added to the Voice of America Park and museum, says Butler County Commissioner Michael A. Fox.

"It would be a wonderful way for the county to recognize a great president," says Fox, who didn't talk to township officials.

Fox suggested Thursday the change to Ronald Reagan Voice of America Memorial Park The township owns the 330-acre park; it was where the government broadcast news and information around the world, from 1942 to 1995.

"I'm stunned a county commissioner would propose renaming something that the county didn't own," said Jim Fearing, West Chester Historical Society president.

"Ronald Reagan was a much-beloved president, but I don't think this is the kind of decision to make at this time, when emotions are so high," said Catherine Stoker, a trustee and secretary of the Veterans' Voice of America group raising money for the museum.

Fox asked the county staff to investigate funding for a Reagan Cold War museum. He also said the county could use tax-increment financing funds for other additions to the park - or the county's neighboring 200-acre Freedom's Voice Reserve - such as a Riverbend-style outdoor concert facility.

Stoker, a Democrat who is running against the GOP's Fox for commissioner in November, encouraged the county to provide funding for the museum at 8070 Tylersville Road. It will house the VOA's only official museum and a history of Cincinnati radio - but not emphasize the Cold War, Fearing said.

Fox, whose name will soon be removed from a regional highway being renamed Butler County Veterans Highway, acknowledged that the county had no jurisdiction over the VOA site.

"If West Chester Township says, 'It's our park, stay away from it,' we won't fight about it," Fox said.


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Today's stories:
Memories wiped away, bit by bit
Tributes abound on Fountain Square
Area folks feel drawn to Capitol to pay tribute
'Reagan Revolution' wasn't for all
Daughter, dad make trip to say goodbye to 'hero'
Notion: Name VOA park after Reagan