OUTLOOK - With its centralized location at the fourway stop in the town of Outlook, the odds are more than good that you've driven past it many times in your daily travels.
The Veterans Memorial Park at the junction of Saskatchewan Avenue and McKenzie Street has made a few leaps and bounds this summer, and organizers are looking forward to holding an opening for the revamped outdoor space.
"As you can see by driving past, we have made some progress this summer—not as much as we would have liked—but progress nonetheless," said John McPhail of the Outlook Branch 262, Royal Canadian Legion.
McPhail, who many would agree has been a champion of this project, shared a few points on how the project has been going so far, including the restoration of the Great War Veterans Memorial Arch, in which a professional restorer was employed to gently sandblast the former blue paint that was on the structure for quite a long time.
"We engaged a company to resurface the arch to prevent erosion or further deterioration," explained McPhail. "The company applied two coats of special stucco, plus patches of fibreglass underlay in certain places where there were cracks. The result is a finish that will last for decades."
As well, three 25-foot flagpoles have been erected and underground lighting has been installed at the site, and the Legion is just waiting for SaskPower to connect the electricity. Visitors will be interested to know that the Memorial Arch, the cenotaph, and the three black memorials that will be on-site will be lit at night and make for an eye-catching image.
McPhail went over some of the plans that will be rolled out in the immediate future at the site.
"We are preparing the cenotaph for placement in the centre of the 32 foot display circle," said John. "When it was extracted from its former position, it was discovered that there were two heavy foundations (a two foot concrete base and a cinder block base). The original bases are not required. However, it is time-consuming work to remove them without damaging the limestone of the cenotaph."
When the cenotaph is all set to be ready for placement, three memorials from the site of the SkyTrail will then be placed in the park. In the meantime, landscaping is in progress, including flower beds that run parallel to the walkway, and a custom-made waste disposal unit is said to be ready for placement on the perimeter of the park.
As well, a bronze plaque that was cast in Australia has arrived that will be attached to a custom-made pedestal in time for the official opening.
Right now, the application process to have the Veterans Memorial Park declared as a Municipal Heritage Property is underway. Such a designation will ensure the preservation of the property for generations.
McPhail says that the Town of Outlook has been "extraordinarily helpful" throughout the entire process, and touched on the plans for an opening service.
"As to an official opening, we have not set a date," said John. "Everything must be perfect before we open the park. In the event that everything is not in place this fall, there will be a small dedication service in 2021, with an official opening scheduled for 2022."
McPhail shared that Branch 262 is grateful to the many Outlook citizens and organizations that have stepped forward to provide financial support. Proving to be of great assistance was a $25,000 grant from Veterans Affairs Canada. That being said, McPhail says there are still funds required in order to complete the project, and financial support of the park is still being gratefully accepted by the Legion.
Those who are wishing to make a donation can make cheques payable to the Town of Outlook, and you're being asked to please write 'Veterans Memorial Park' in the memo line. Cheques can be put in the outside drop box at the entrance to the Outlook town offices, or mailed to the Town.