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City to begin replacing panels on Veterans Memorial this month

The city will begin replacing the plaques on the Veterans Memorial this month. - Brian Beckley, Renton Reporter
The city will begin replacing the plaques on the Veterans Memorial this month.
— image credit: Brian Beckley, Renton Reporter

Work will begin this month to refurbish the name plaques at the city’s Veterans Memorial park on South Third Street.

The existing marble plaques will be replaced with new, black granite panels engraved with the names. All of the names will remain in the same locations they are now. The new plaques will be placed right on top of the current marble face.

According to the City, the existing marble plaques have experienced leaching of the grout material from behind the plaques where they were affixed to the wall. In order to remedy the cracked and stained plaques and permanently improve the appearance of the memorial wall, the new panels  will be installed.

The park was dedicated in 2003 with nearly 2,000 etched marble plaques placed over the memorial’s concrete walls. But almost immediately, the panels began to deteriorate due to the leaching.

Crews spend two weeks each year prior to Memorial Day and again prior to Veterans Day to clean the tiles, but within days they again begin to show signs of leaching.

Once the new granite panels are installed, maintenance will consist of using a wet sponge to wipe off the panels, which should last for decades. There is still some leaching expected with the new panels, but officials said the cleaning effort will be minimal for city staff.

The restoration is projected to cost $148,000 and is being paid through the Renton Community Foundation’s Custer Fund.

There are presently about 2,000 names on the city’s memorial wall. City staff is also organizing a new layout system and database to allow the public to search for the location of a specific plaque on the memorial.

Renovations are set to begin April 17 and are expected to be completed by mid-May. The city’s Memorial Day Celebration is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 26 at the park.

For more information or to apply for a plaque, visit www.rentonwa.gov.

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