The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners gave its blessing Monday to a proposed monument dedicated to women who have served in the military.
James Williamson, a member of Troop 800 of the Boy Scouts of America, first brought the idea to the commissioners in April as part of his Eagle Scout service project. Addressing the board at the time, Williamson said he “chose to create a women veterans monument to honor all those who have served, especially those like my mom, grandma and aunts.”
Though supportive of the idea, the commissioners voiced concerns about the monument’s proposed location in Aberdeen Lake Park and, specifically, its proximity to the Recreation Station, which is used as a polling place during elections. Williamson worked with Justin Westbrook, planning director for the town, to identify an alternative site.
The location approved by the commissioners on Monday is adjacent to the American Legion building on East Main Street. Westbrook said the 4-foot-tall monument will be a “great addition“ to Sharpe Memorial Park, which is being moved to the property from its current location at the intersection of West Maple Avenue and Pine Street.
Williamson said the granite monument will be built with donations from citizens, with the donors’ names emblazoned on plaques attached to the circular structure. The monument will be inscribed with a quote attributed to former first lady Michelle Obama: “Your legacy will be measured in the service of every woman who follows in the trails that you’ve blazed.”
Town manager Paul Sabiston praised Williamson, who has received more than 60 merit badges, for his “efforts and the way he has conducted himself” while dealing with the town.
“He’s been a pleasure to work with, and I know his mom is and should be proud of him,” Sabiston said. “We’re looking forward to this project. It’s going to be a great one.”
Also on Monday, the commissioners voted to adopt a $15 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Residents will see no tax or rate increases under the financial plan, which earmarks $10.9 million for the town’s general fund and $4.1 million for the water and sewer fund.
Aberdeen is expected to receive more than $2.3 million in coronavirus-relief funding through the American Rescue Plan act. During a previous meeting, Sabiston said the money creates a “huge opportunity to do some improvements that I think otherwise would be difficult to think about much less to achieve.”