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SUNSET BEACH — The size of a proposed veterans memorial needs to be reduced before it merits approval of Sunset Beach Town Council.
At a council workshop Tuesday, Gordon Coulson, president of the local Committee to Honor American Veterans, outlined details for the memorial that committee members hope can be located in the new Sunset Beach Town Park.
Council members Carol Scott and Mike Williams said the proposed 40-foot-diameter size is too big and asked that it be reduced.
“A 40-foot circle is huge,” Scott said. “I’ve said from the beginning, my vision was always a small memorial with seating for a few people for reflection.”
Mayor Rich Cerrato said he didn’t know why the memorial wasn’t being planned for location at town hall and outlined his own diagram showing how it could be.
Town council members Lou DeVita and Karen Joseph disputed claims that residents don’t want a memorial in the park, based on surveys taken last year.
Joseph said the council also voted to allow the memorial in the park and that now discussion is focused on how much space will be permitted for it.
Williams said people he has spoken with want to see a reduction in the memorial’s proposed size.
Scott said, “I’ll support this, for what it’s worth, if we can get that diameter down.”
Coulson said the memorial committee, which has applied for 501(c)(3) status, has to raise an estimated $200,000 for the memorial, which will not rely on town funds. He said the committee will meet July 26 to discuss details.
“I think you’ll get much more support, too, if we can show that compromise,” Scott said. “If you’ll just consider the scope of that, you’ll get my vote.”
Council approved having public hearing for the park development capital project budget at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 5.
The council also gave preliminary approval to requests-for-proposals for a future streetscape project.
Council members discussed at length types of landscaping that will be feasible and what will withstand the elements.
Town building inspections director Sandy Wood said it’s really a matter of what the council and the town want it to look like, with prices ranging from an estimated $5,000 annually to as high as $50,000 for complete maintenance.
Town councilman Wilson Sherrill said he sees from his office window how the Ocean Isle Beach public works department works on maintaining town landscaping there.
“There’s not a day goes by somebody from public works isn’t riding the causeway doing something with their landscaping,” he said. “There’s a lot of people on staff on Ocean Isle Beach that spend a lot of time on the causeway. It’s not an easy nickel.”
Sherrill said to him “less is more — simple but very beautiful.”
The council approved scheduling the streetscape capital project budget public hearing for 7 p.m. Aug. 5.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.