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Committee going after more funds to enhance Veterans Park

The Wadena Elks Lodge is cooperating with the Veterans Park committee to raise funds for Veterans Park at Sunnybrook Park by hosting a fundraiser Sept. 22. Men and women from the Wadena area who served in the military are honored at the park. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal

Dave Ludovissie is taking the same approach to the Veterans Park in Wadena that Thomas Jefferson once took toward his famous home "Monticello."

"It's a work in progress," said Ludovissie, a member of the Veterans Park Committee. The committee of private citizens is planning to go after more funds Sept. 22 with a fundraiser at the Elks Lodge in Wadena.

A 5 p.m. social hour is planned with a dinner following at 6:30 p.m. The admission fee is $20 per person. The event will include door prizes, a silent auction, prizes and games.

Ludovissie said the committee has spent $70,000-$80,000 since they started putting the park together at Sunnybrook Park in 2012.

"When it was drawn up the person who did it estimated it would cost us $350,000 to build," Ludovissie said. "I don't think it will cost that much."

The black granite walls at the park contain the names of area men and women who have served the nation in peace and war. The names date back to the Civil War when the young state of Minnesota sent regiments of fighting men into action. Compiling the names was a project started by the late businessman and historian, Bob Zosel, in 2005.

A large structure resembling a ship's mast towers over the patio which the walls and a collection of benches occupy. Seven flags fly from the mast.

Ludovissie indicated the committee still has sidewalks to pour and decks to build. In time, the committee would like to erect a museum and interpretive center.