Two Cedar County women want to honor veterans with a memorial on a piece of land in West Branch they think is the perfect site. Pat Bickford and Phyllis Sondergard came up with the idea six months ago to put the memorial on the land that is part of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site honoring the only Iowan to become president. But Bickford says the National Park Service has a concern about their idea.
Bickford says the Park Service feels that if they let the memorial go up, it would set a precedent to allow anyone to put up a memorial on the property. "But we just think since it’s veterans, and it’s a government piece of property, it would be fitting," according to Bickford. Bickford says the location is ideal because of all of the visitors the Hoover site attracts.
Bickford says they feel the memorial should be at a place where everybody drives by every day that lives in West Branch. "And when visitors come into West Branch, and they come in to see Hoover Park, that they would know that West Branch honors veterans," Bickford says. Bickford says they’re determined to see the project get done.
Bickford says she’d be willing to give up part of her farm for the memorial, "But the only people who would drive by would be myself and the next-door neighbor…and that’s not really fitting."
Bickford says the only really visible place in town is Hoover Park. Site Superintendent Cheryl Schreiber says anything added to the area must fit the parks requirement to honor the former president. Schreiber, Bickford and Sondergard will discuss the issue Thursday in a meeting with the National Park Service.