PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO – Despite windy and rainy weather, workers have 85 percent of the cleaning completed on the memorial column at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial and Construction Manager Jeff Ashton said the restoration project is on schedule. Ashton said 20 percent of the work removing the caulking is complete and workers currently are replacing the mortar in the areas where the caulking has been removed. Coon Construction from Louisville, Ohio is doing the work.
“We have protection in place at the top,” said Ashton, who represents the National Park Service in overseeing the $1.8 million project. “We have a weather station that updates us on weather and wind conditions every 12 minutes. Ashton said the crews cannot work in conditions when winds are in excess of 25 mph.
Ashton said the exposed stone surfaces of the plaza have been covered in plywood or fabric to protect it while the work is being done. “The memorial remains fenced and inaccessible to the public during the cleaning and repairs,” said Park Superintendent Barbra Fearon. The fence will remain until the work is completed. “The column’s interior tile repairs were completed in the Spring,” she added, “and we’re happy with the progress being made on the exterior as we make plans to reopen next May.” Ashton said he anticipates the project will be complete soon after the park wraps up the 2017 season. “The contract stipulates it be finished by January 2018,” he said, “and we’re still on schedule to make that happen.”
The 352-foot tall memorial column is scheduled for repointing the mortar joints about every 20 years. In June 2006 a 500-pound chunk of granite fell 317 from the outside of the observation deck. Subsequently, the memorial was closed periodically through 2012 for structural surveys and repairs.
“We know it seems like the column has been inaccessible a lot this decade,” Superintendent Fearon said, “but the memorial is over 100 years old and requires maintenance to ensure its longevity. Our goal is to ensure the memorial is here for future generations to be inspired and learn from. Beyond that, our first priority is the safety of our guests and our staff, and the respect due the veterans buried beneath the rotunda.”