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Cape Coral Veterans Memorial Monument is rededicated after improvements

By KATIE EGAN - | Nov 19, 2020

The Cape Coral Veterans Memorial Monument is lit for the first time in about six months. KATIE EGAN

People driving along the Cape Coral Bridge at night may notice something different.

The Cape Coral Veterans Memorial Monument will be lit for the first time in about six months.

The 55-foot structure sits in the median on Cape Coral Parkway near the intersection of Cape Coral Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard.

The pointed, yellow spire-like monument can be easy to miss as cars whizz by on the busy road, but new lights, a repaired fountain–and a variety of other improvements–are breathing new life into the Veterans Memorial Monument, inspired during a Rotary meeting in 1967 during the Vietnam War.

The monument was originally dedicated in 1969. Lighting, a fountain, and extensive median landscaping were added in 2000.

The Nov. 14 rededication ceremony was hosted by the President of the Cape Coral Historical Museum Gloria Tate and the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department’s Special Events Division.

Just in time for the city’s 50th anniversary, the monument was pressure washed, the landscaping was restored, the steps were repainted, it got a new base, the bronze plaque was reconditioned, the fountain was restored, and refacing will include new pumps and lights.

“This whole stretch of roadway has been transformed and now it’s culminating in the rededication of this memorial monument for the veterans,” said Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello.

One of the most notable additions is color-changing LED lights and the replacement of the medallions that represent the four branches of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines.

The new set is a little bigger, brighter and more colorful than the old ones. They were also manufactured locally.

The last major refurbishment — and first rededication — came in 2000.

“Last year I was driving by the monument. The city’s 50th anniversary was coming up and the monument really hadn’t changed since 20 years ago. The lights were failing, the fountain wasn’t working and it was time to give it some attention,” said ACRA Electric, Inc. President Robert Greco, who was involved in the last dedication two decades ago.

“I basically called the old gang back together. Everyone was on board right away, and there were a lot of new people, too. In my opinion, it was an easy project. The monument just needed some TLC.”

The City of Cape Coral pressure washed the monument and Lee County restored the landscaping.

The base of the fountain was restored by Siesta Pebble, who donated labor and materials to reface the exterior of the base with travertine donated by StoneMart.

“Between them, we had a total refreshed basin,” Greco said.

The City of Cape Coral, in cooperation with Waltzing Waters, refurbished the fountain.

The fountain will receive new pumps and lights, and controls will be repaired.

The steps at the bottom of the monument were repainted by Brian Greenwell.

ACRA Electric, Inc installed the new color-changing LED lighting, and did electrical work for the fountain and replaced the flagpole light.

Donations were collected to replace the monument’s 16 medallions, which were probably about 50 years old.

“An email was sent out, “Greco said. “And within two hours, we had all the money we needed.”

The medallions were sponsored by Dane Kelly, Wayne Kirkwood, Steve Bowen, Carolyn Conant, Bob Knight, Larry Wier, Brian Kirby, Gary Aubuchon, Elmer Tabor, Tom Giles, Helen Ramey, Phil Deems and Vince Cautero.

Greco said changing the medallions were tricky because they had to get a right-of-way permit to close the lanes of traffic.

“There was great cooperation between the city and county to make it happen,” he said.

Coviello shared that sentiment.

“The community came together, the business community as well as the city and county to make this happen,” he said. “It’s all for remembering the veterans we have who live in this city. It now has LED lights and it looks awesome.

“Lots of people drive by that monument every day. Now they’re going to see it when it’s lit.”

The plaque on the monument reads: “In recognition of the men and women of Cape Coral who have served who are serving in the armed forces of the United States, and in loving memory of those who will never return.”