Brunswick Council gave unanimous support Tuesday to completely revamping a section of the Town mall into an expanded Veterans Memorial.

Located at the corners of Park Row, School Street, and Maine Street, the new memorial will be a combination of new and existing memorials in town – including one already on the premises. Surrounded by bushes in the summer, and facing out into the street, the current memorial is often completely obscured and makes it difficult for local veteran’s groups to hold any ceremonies.

“There’s safety issues, any time there’s a program that takes place with the war memorial, everyone has to stand in the street,” said Councilor David Watson, who is also a veteran and a member of Brunswick’s American Legion Post 20.

The surroundings of the memorial aren’t anything great to look at either. In the winter, it amounts to melting piles of snow and bare shrubs. In the summer months, those shrubs form a visual barrier that Brunswick Police say can hide activity. A pair of pitch pine trees – out of place in a park made of primarily deciduous hardwoods – and a crabapple tree also block vision.

The new memorial would be a stark contrast. Bushes and shrubs would be removed, replaced with granite paving and a bronze plaque forming a centerpiece. Lines radiating from the centerpiece would connect to sentinel posts representing the various conflicts Brunswick veterans have been involved with. Instead of low-lying shrubs, 4-inch deciduous trees would be planted.

The concept was created by Richardson and Associates, who have worked with the town multiple times in the past. The company is responsible for the town’s Spanish War Memorial, as well as the Joshua Chamberlain statue and memorial.

“It’s really an enhancement to the mall, it balances the mall from the gazebo,” said Watson of the new design.

Funding for the new memorial would be raised by local veteran’s groups. According to Thomas Farrell, director of parks and recreation for Brunswick, cost estimates are currently between $111,068 and $148,091.

Multiple initial design concepts were put forth to various veteran’s groups in town, said Farrell. All of them agreed that the option presented to the council made the most sense.

Council was almost entirely supportive of the new memorial. The only question came from Councilor Jane Millett, who was curious about maintenance costs. “Even though the veterans are going to be raising money for this, the upkeep will be our future responsibility,” she said.

Watson said the American Legion and other groups hope to raise enough money to not only complete the project, but provide for its future maintenance.

Other local organizations were also in support of the project. Brunswick Downtown Association Executive Director Debora King said she sees the project as a positive for the whole downtown. “As an avid user of the Mall, I can see all sorts of opportunities not just for the BDA, but the entire community to use that space.”

Margo Knight, a former councilor and a member of the Master Plan Implementation Committee, said the project lines up directly with the town’s goals. “One specific recommendation is to improve the location and gathering potential for this particular memorial.” She added the project represents a collaborative effort of private groups and town government to improve the town. “This is what this project really represents, it’s wonderful.”

Scheduling of the project will largely depend on how quickly fundraising efforts can secure the money needed.

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