Kansas City's Liberty Memorial approves $5 million in projects

Sunday, August 29, 2010 | 4:40 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — The board of trustees of the Liberty Memorial has approved about $5 million in projects at the site, including rebuilding a stone wall that commemorates the gathering of the five World War I Allied military commanders.

"Otherwise, the generals' wall might not be there in a few years," said Patrick Raymond, facilities management director for the Liberty Memorial, which also houses the National World War I Museum.

Repairs on the memorial's stone Dedication Wall will require dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding at an estimated cost of $360,000. The Dedication Wall was built in 1935 to mark the only time that the Allied commanders of the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy and Belgium met in one place. That was in Kansas City in 1921 for the dedication of the Liberty Memorial site.

The Kansas City Star reports that the city still has to approve the improvement package, which the board passed last week. Nearly $2.2 million of the money to be spent would come from a tax-increment financing district. The rest would come from the Liberty Memorial's maintenance endowment.

The work also includes security enhancements, physical repairs needed to preserve the historic memorial and grounds and preparation for the 2014-18 centennial observance of the Great War.

New security measures would include clearing brush on the east and west slopes to remove hiding places, new surveillance cameras, an audio system to surprise and deter intruders, and better lighting.

The most expensive single item is $750,000 to reconstruct and repair the crumbling stone wall that faces Main Street. The limestone that constitutes the memorial tower and buildings would be cleaned and repaired where needed.

Energy-conservation measures, including modifications to the boiler that produces steam for the tower's flame effect, are expected to save the memorial $183,000 a year.

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