Cenotaph project ready for next phase

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The Cochrane Cenotaph revitalization project is ramping back up this month as phase two – sidewalk installation – gets underway and fundraising for the third and final phase kicks off.

“This is a community project … we want this to be accessible by all,” said Legion first vice-president and project organizer Dave Usherwood.

“We want it to be warm and inviting and inclusive,” added brainchild and Legion member Todd Puzey, who wanted to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday and the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in a big way.

The project reveal was celebrated ahead of Remembrance Day last fall with the unveiling of the locally-made bronze statue of a First World War soldier to honour the lives lost in battle as part of phase one.

Phase one came with a $134,000 price tag, covered between the Town of Cochrane and fundraising efforts spearheaded by Cochrane Legion members –Puzey, Usherwood and Sgt. At Arms Steve Merritt.

Weather dependent, the install of a widened pathway system through the Cenotaph park is readying for construction at the command of project lead OnGrowing Works.

Phase two is covered between two $25,000 grants – a provincial community initiative grant and a federal memorial enhancement grant – and topped up with leftover funds from phase one fundraising to cover the total costs amounting to $52,000.

Following sidewalk install, phase three is the final chapter in the major community project, estimated between $20,000 to $30,000. Donations in-kind, as well as monetary are welcomed.

Included in this third phase is zero-scape or natural landscaping additions, benches, fencettes and garbage cans.

The target is for a mid-spring completion date with a goal of a final ribbon-cutting ceremony sometime in June.

Usherwood said they are also hoping to top off the project with some kind of a plaque, possibly with original Cochrane brick incorporated – an educational component that speaks to the history of the park, of the lives lost in combat in Cochrane’s history.

He also said that Legion membership is up 35 per cent overall, which he touts as encouraging in light of the declining memberships in legions across the country.

Don Begg and Shirley Stephens-Begg of Studio West Bronze and Foundry created the bronze statue.

To get in touch with the Legion or to donate to Phase 3, contact 403-932-2011.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.