Save Point Park, honor veterans


This is the situation that presents a good news-sad news dilemma. The good news is Mason Lodge 529 wants to honor our veterans.

As a mother of two veterans and a friend of many more, I am in no way opposed to the memorial. In fact, I think it would be a terrific addition, a place for Cortland to hold our first ever Veterans Day celebration.

The sad news is the location the Masons were given by the city of Cortland will take away one of the most scenic spots in Cortland.

A recent Tribune Chronicle opinion poll asked readers if they wanted the Veterans Memorial in Cortland. It’s a simple question to which 90 percent responded, “Yes.”

However, a more relevant and precise question would have been, “Would you like to have the white gazebo torn down, all of the trees and foliage removed from Point Park to make way for a more elaborate Veterans Memorial than the dedicated, modest memorial that’s already there?”

It’s important that the citizens of Cortland know what to expect as the result of city council’s decision to let the Masons take over Point Park for the new Veterans Memorial.

There will no longer be a drinking fountain, no shady picnic tables, no shade for your morning walk or bike ride, no gazebo to sit and eat ice cream with your grandkids, no attractive backdrop for your graduation and wedding pictures, no more whimsical holiday decorations and still no more parking.

But sadly, and most of all, our welcoming symbol, the symbol of our New England heritage, will be gone.

It should be noted that the gazebo is constantly referred to as “in disrepair,” but on closer examination by a local contractor, it really needs only new shingles and a new post. The contractor estimated it would cost about $2,000, but we are sure we have talent in the Cortland service department to affect those repairs.

Can’t some forward-thinking persons in city government find a solution to save Point Park and accommodate the Veterans Memorial in suitable location so we can have two meaningful, attractive locations in our town? Do we have to destroy one to have the other?