By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone had a special project on the agenda of fiscal court’s special session last Wednesday; repairs to the courthouse doughboy. Malone asked the court to grant him permission to run a project that will raise funds for the repair of the doughboy statue, replacement of the concrete base he stands on, and making the approach to the statue easier for those with mobility issues to use.
Malone didn’t say how much the project might cost, but he knows what he needs to price and has been soliciting estimates for the repairs. The concrete base is one of the first things Malone said needs to be addressed. There are currently only two of the four plaques that adorn the base still attached. The other two were removed during cleaning and maintenance of the statue because of problems with their attachment to the base. Malone told the court it’s been determined the concrete base is currently so degraded it’s “inadequate” for the plaques to be reattached.
Malone said in other communities that have doughboy statues – there are several around the nation erected in the wake of WWI to honor local soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict – they often attach the statue to a granite base. He said with Carter County being a limestone producing community, he’d like to see if the project can either secure the donation of a large limestone block or negotiate a reasonable purchase price with a local limestone quarry. The statue and plaques would then be mounted on the block at a reconfigured viewing area.
The viewing area and access to the statue was another big issue Malone wants to address with the project. Today, anyone who wants a closer look at the statue and to read the list of names has to climb a flight of stairs to reach the statue. He said he’d like to make the viewing area ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
“You can’t get a wheelchair or walker up those stairs,” Malone said
His plan would redo the entire area and include a ramp so that more people can appreciate the statue and the history of the county.
The final area is repairs to the statue itself, which isn’t in as bad shape as some others around the country. But the very fact that it can still be preserved, when those in other communities may not be, makes repairs to the statue important as well, Malone said. One of the main areas of concern is the rifle that the doughboy holds in his left hand.
In some communities, Malone said, the rifle is completely gone from the doughboy statue because of issues with its attachment points and materials. Carter County’s doughboy still has his rifle. But, Malone said, it is in need of repair. He said the rifle on the Carter County doughboy had split open and that “wood or some other fibrous material” could be seen inside.
Malone asked the court to grant him permission to run the project and to seek funding sources, including possible grant funds as well as community donations. No county tax dollars are currently planned for use on the project.
The magistrates also discussed rural and secondary road funding available from the state and cold patching projects. The road department will cold patch approximately 2 miles of road in each magisterial district, focusing on roads recommended by that district’s magistrate.
The court also moved to begin action toward setting a speed limit of 35 mph on all county roads, unless otherwise marked. Malone told magistrates that he has a list of communities and neighborhoods requesting the speed limit be reduced to 25 mph through their area.
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