Partnership’s work will improve visitor experience at the Rose Park Veterans Memorial

There are more than 5,000 veteran memorial bricks in the Rose Park Veterans Memorial on the eastern gateway to the City of Kalamazoo. 

Family and friends of veterans have purchased 2,281 brick pavers to memorialize individual veterans since it was dedicated Veterans Day, November 11, 2001. The bricks typically contain the veteran’s name, branch of service, rank, and dates of service. 

Since then it has become increasingly difficult for families to keep track of where the brick memorializing their loved ones.  

“Our club found that we were using a very outdated system to maintain the brick locations,” says Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise member and past president Joanna I. Johnson. “It is very difficult for family members to locate their loved one’s brick when they visit the Veterans Memorial. The old kiosk at the park contains outdated information and is difficult to see.”

The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise led efforts to construct the memorial and beautify the park, a special project for the club since 1991. 

“We wanted to find a better way to manage the bricks for inventory, consistency, locating and placement with new technology. We believe an improved system will also allow us to have a better sense for the capacity of future bricks at the Memorial,” says Robert Lawrence, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise member and past president.

The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise, the City of Kalamazoo Parks Department and the team at Wightman have formed a partnership to create a way to maintain an accurate inventory of the memorial bricks.

“Rose Park Veterans Memorial is an important space in the community,"
says Wightman staff member Gary Hahn. “In talking with Joanna at a recent meeting, I shared Wightman’s capabilities and that we might be able to help find solutions to the challenges being faced at the park. From there Joanna took steps to form a partnership between Rotary, the City and Wightman and the project took shape.”

Goals of the project are:
• Locate each of the memorial bricks to assign a location.
• Organize all the information contained on individual memorial bricks.
• Provide a means to help family and friends locate individual bricks both online and on-site, and
• Develop a process to manage all future memorial bricks.

“We wanted to find a better way to manage the bricks for inventory, consistency, locating and placement with new technology,” says Robert Lawrence, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise member and past president. “We believe an improved system will also allow us to have a better sense for the capacity of future bricks at the Memorial.”

Wightman called on the high-tech skills of its GIS team along with one of its most recently added services -- High Definition Laser Scanning to create a way to locate the memorial bricks. The steps they took included laser scanning the Memorial site to create a 3D model of the Memorial including brick details. They also developed a CAD/GIS drawing file to prepare a base map for locating individual bricks on the site and a database to catalog and allow for easy access to all brick information by Parks Department staff and the public. The database will also allow for future memorials to be added and implemented seamlessly. They are also developing on-site signage to take the place of the outdated and weather-worn kiosk to provide more up-to-date information for visitors.

Once the project is complete the City of Kalamazoo will host and maintain the data on an online interactive GIS map that the public can use to search for and locate the memorial bricks. 

“The City of Kalamazoo is fully supportive of the new ideas that surround the GIS project and we will gladly be the coordinator and host of the system once it is up and running,” says Patrick McVerry, City of Kalamazoo Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director. “We are excited about the new system, and the updates planned for the park moving forward.”

Source: Wightman
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