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Plans to move Veterans Tribute Trail to Altoona take next step

Altoona (WQOW) – Plans for a veterans park in Altoona are moving forward as one Eau Claire County supervisor says the County should pull its donation.

The controversy over the park name seemingly prompted the Eau Claire Veterans Tribute Foundation to pull the project from Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire County Board originally planned on donating money toward the $2.2 million Veterans Tribute Trail, but now one board member has seconds thoughts.

“I’m in favor of taking that $450,000 and let’s explore building warming shelters for homeless veterans, let’s explore low-income housing options,” said Brandon Buchanan, an Eau Claire County Board Supervisor. “We have a real opportunity to not only get a veterans park but to take the county money and actually invest it where veterans needing help need it the most.”

Moving the tribute trail to River Prairie Park in Altoona will save the foundation money because that park is already developed and has ample parking, and handicap access to the river trail.

Officials from the veterans foundation said the concept is an inclusive development for all generations and hopes it educates visitors.

“I think it’s just good for the community in general whether it’s in Altoona, whether it’s in Eau Claire, said Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt. “It’s going to draw people in from all over.”

Friday, Altoona City Council members got together to create a memorandum of understanding so there’s a formal mechanism to go forward with developing a plan.

“We’ve identified a space that might work well for a mall area for a tribute mall,” said Mike Golat, the Altoona city administrator. “Figuring out those details and making sure it works from an engineering prospective is really what we’re going to be working on going forward here. Once we get those details worked out we can draft an agreement so everyone is fully aware of what the plan is.”

“We’re excited that we can help the veterans in any way possible so we’re here for their support,” Pratt said.

Golat said they plan to have a formal signing ceremony for the memorandum of understanding Tuesday at River Prairie Park.

Shannon Satterlee

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