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Freedom Walk plan considered in Rosemount

“They see it as our Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights and our veterans ensure they continue, and so they are looking to incorporate something with a military feel since the Red Bulls infantry has its military division here,” said Dan Schultz, Rosemount city parks director. Kara Hildreth / contributor 1 / 2
The Rosemount Parks Commission recently discussed moving forward with the Freedom Walk of America, so money can be raised for monuments in Central Park. Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 2

A pathway proposal called Freedom Walk of America was discussed by the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Commission.

The commission discussed the concept Aug. 24, after gathering feedback to questions from its July meeting. The Freedom Walk of America committee provided answers to questions about its mission statement and other issues.

"They see it as our Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights and the veterans ensure they continue and they are looking at trying to incorporate those ideas in the walk with a military feel to it since we are home to the infantry based, military division," of the Red Bulls, said Dan Schultz, director of Rosemount Parks and Recreation.

There was also a question about whether the focus of the walk is to honor veterans or to honor freedoms. The committee said both freedoms and honoring veterans can be a message without there being a preferred focus, Schultz explained.

When the committee was asked why designs did not appear to be family-friendly, the group said the statues or monuments were only artist conceptions and final design had not begun. The committee believes there can be space for 11 stations even though the original veterans' park called for eight stations.

"They feel like there is enough room and would like to create an experience expanded from what it was originally and it could attract those who visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Schultz said.

Ten years ago three Rosemount men — Bud Curley, Jack Warweg and Ed Mcmenomy, Sr. — came together to share their vision for a veterans park and their desire to build a meaningful memorial along a segment of Koch Trail in Rosemount, Schultz said.

"Over the ensuing years, we have received city approval to use a segment of the trail to build the memorial, and that vision has grown and now become more focused on a memorial to honor both the locally-based Red Bulls and celebrating our American constitution," Schultz read to the group.

The group's proposal could call for each station to display a statue. One proposal calls for a Red Bulls station with 10 additional statues for the first 10 amendments.

"The intent is to honor veterans and the country and create something focusing on people who have served the country," Schultz said.

A potential future Freedom Walk of America could be designed in Rosemount within Central Park and along the Koch Trail. The walk would intend to educate Americans on the Bill of Rights and how the first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee those rights. The second aspect of the walk could serve as a pathway to honor veterans.

The Freedom Walk of America could become a valuable local educational asset to attract new foot traffic into the city in years to come.

"I think they are hoping it is something that would become popular and it is something people would travel to come see," Schultz said.

The committee has already talked with fundraising groups such as the Rosemount Yellow Ribbon Network group, among other local veterans' groups.

"I think it is an admirable goal that unlike other memorial groups — and not ours — but in other cities that have gone to the public and the state Legislature to secure money, they are looking to gain the revenue and move forward on a project based on fundraising privately without city dollars, since this is a big $3 to $4 million project," Schultz said.

The existing Central Park Veterans Park monument honors veterans of all wars and includes the names of Rosemount service members who died in wars or conflicts. Several years ago, versions of this plan for a memorial walk included a focus on sacrifice and tied it to the 10 amendments. The commission discussed ways and how the Rosemount VFW and the Rosemount American Legion can include input.

The commission discussed lighting, lighting pollution, potential traffic, lack of parking, trees and invasive grasses in the existing park area.

Schultz said usually for this kind of veterans' park, the city would be responsible for sweeping, blowing and mowing around veterans' statues, but not paying for any statue repair.

The Freedom Walk of American committee is seeking approval from the commission and the Rosemount City Council. Then the group can proceed with fundraising and donations to put together a pathway toward the long-term veterans' park project.