by Wendy Turrell
The Bath Veterans Memorial, in Bath Veterans Memorial Park, has recently undergone major renovations. According to Bath Township Administrator and Police Chief Vito Sinopoli, a new Veterans Memorial tablet was installed, along with iron gates that had previously been part of a vault in the Bath Center Cemetery.
The gates were refurbished and mounted to the granite columns at the entry to the Veterans Memorial Garden. Sinopoli said the Bath Historical Society was responsible for all of the project’s funding, but the Bath Township Service Department poured concrete supports for the memorial’s tablet and granite columns.
Bath Historical Society President Jeff Andrew was instrumental in organizing and accomplishing the recent renovations. When he became president in 2004, former historical society President David Darst reminded him of the importance of keeping the Veterans Memorial updated and expanded when the need arose, so Andrew kept it in the forefront of his mind.
In 2014, the Bath Historical Society began fundraising for an additional tablet to pay tribute to Bath veterans.
“In November of 2015, we were honored to receive a very generous donation from the Charles R. Jelm Charitable Foundation for the society’s community history educational efforts, and for the explicit purpose of upgrading Veterans Memorial Park,” Andrew explained.
The remainder of the funding for the project came from the Bath Historical Society and its members.
Andrew said the timing of the Veterans Memorial project coincided with the removal of a 1913 burial vault in the Bath Center Cemetery. The vault had structural problems due to tree roots having damaged the foundation. The rocks, which covered the vault, as well as its iron gates, had been salvaged.
It was suggested the materials might be repurposed for the Veterans Memorial upgrade. Although Andrew thought the rocks would be out of character among the simple black granite lines of the Veterans Memorial, he felt the iron gates could be used to enhance the site.
Andrew enlisted the help of friend and landscape architect Jeff Kerr. Both men thought two granite pillars supporting the refurbished gates in an open position would provide a welcoming feeling to the Memorial Garden entrance. To add to the more open impression of the renovated Memorial, Andrew said, “I located the new tablet within the existing greenery, in a location that has a better sight line to the memorial from Cleveland Massillon Road, and is more welcoming.”
Andrew said no grants were needed for the project. “Special thanks to the Bath Township Service Department for their expertise in engineering and pouring the foundations for the tablet and pillars,” he said.
Andrew emphasized, “The Memorial Garden is open and never closed both day and night for your time of reflection and photography.”
The township’s May 30 Memorial Day observance will take place at noon at the Bath Veterans Memorial Park, located at the corner of W. Bath Road and N. Cleveland Massillon Road. It will include speakers, patriotic music and recognition of veterans who served the country. ∞