Center moves forward with veterans’ wall

CENTER — Center town Administrator Brian Lujan reported to trustees Tuesday that he has spoken with John Glass at Valley Monument in Monte Vista about plans to provide new facing for the Casa Blanca Park veterans’ wall, still under construction.

Originally the town planned to sell bricks with veterans’ names on them to line the wall but this plan became impractical. At a previous meeting late last year, Lujan told the board he had spoken with the individual who designed the veterans’ wall for the park and discovered that the bricks for the wall would actually stick out after being placed.

This would have resulted in an unattractive monument, Lujan says, one he is not pleased with and will not pursue. The town also had trouble selling bricks to veterans’ family members.

“We need to cut our losses on this,” he advised the board. “If it looks like trash it will be treated like trash. Our veterans deserve better.” The current wall also needs to be repaired after suffering water damage.

Valley Monument will engrave names into granite slabs placed on the front and back of the wall and will replace the cement ornaments now on the memorial with ornaments in bronze or aluminum, as the board chooses. Trustees discussed what should be included with the veterans’ names, as some wished to see those who served in wartime named as WWII, Korea, Vietnam veterans, etc.

Center Police Chief Jim Gowin, also a veteran, advised against this saying all who served deserve to be recognized the same, whether they served during wartime or not. The board decided to list name, dates of service, rank, and military branch after the names, as the dates of service will indicate which campaign, if any, veterans participated in.

The estimate for the monument is $18,696 with bronze ornaments and $18,036 with aluminum. The board chose bronze ornaments and gave the go ahead to award the job to Valley Monument and proceed with the project.


Water tank loan

Lujan also told the board he has received the go ahead from the lienholders on the town’s water tank to amend the initial loan and use some funds the town did not access to pay for the removal of the old water tower. The tank project came in under budget and the remaining funds will cover the demolition of the old tower, he noted.


New police car

The board also approved the purchase of a fully-loaded police car from Town and Country for $36,000. The car comes complete with all the necessary equipment except a radio and radar, which will be taken form the old car now in use for the new car. Graphics also will be added to the car, and Gowin said he is looking at something different than the town’s current black and white look.

 Many special features in the new car will help Center Police stay safe and handle offenders more efficiently, Gowin said. The new V-6 Dodge Charger will cost the town approximately $34,000 to be paid in three increments of $11, 811 on a lease basis. The purchase will include a 100,000- mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and after three years the town will own the vehicle at no additional cost.


Other business

Trustees also agreed to add its water to the current contract with Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, who now also manages the town’s electric and gas. The power pool will first conduct a cost analysis and studies and will consider the town’s special needs while evaluating the addition. Cost of the addition will be $5,430.


A turf job performed last summer for the Community Park baseball field was evaluated and Lujan said it looks like the contractor “googled how to do the job,” even though the individual employed has years of experience in laying turf. When the turf was rolled out it had holes in it and needed to be pieced together.


Because of the water tank work, lack of water was a problem, Lujan admitted, but does not excuse all the issues with the project. The contractor is now asking for additional pay because the lack of water hindered the project, but Lujan says he hopes the town and the contractor can work something out that is agreeable to both parties.