Put-in-Bay, Ohio – US Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) leads a list of dignitaries scheduled to celebrate the reopening of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. The memorial was closed in 2017 for $2.4 million in deferred maintenance (DM) work that included repointing the exterior masonry, removing efflorescence, replacing broken interior wall tile, and rehabilitating five exterior bronze doors.
“This is a proud moment for us,” said Superintendent Barbara Fearon. “It’s an important moment in the history of this park, and we are thrilled to share it with the American public.”
Congresswoman Kaptur will be joined by Senator Randy Gardner (R-OH-2), Representative Steve Arndt (R-OH-89), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) represented by his Ohio District Director Kelsey Krull, Governor John Kasich (R-OH) represented by his Northwest Ohio Regional Representative LuAnne Cooke, and Ottawa County Commissioners Mark Coppeler (R), Jim Sass (D), and Mark Stahl (R).
Superintendent Fearon said Huntington National Bank is paying for the first 103 adults to take the elevator to the Observation Deck in observance of the 103rd anniversary of the start of memorial operations. “We thank Huntington National Bank for their generosity,” said Fearon. “We think this is a big deal. Once the contractors took possession of the memorial column in 2017 it was inaccessible to park staff as well. We hope to see a crowd on opening day and all season.” She also noted that Webster P. Huntington, a descendent of the founder of Huntington National Bank, was instrumental in raising funds to build the memorial. It is noteworthy and fitting that 103 years later, Huntington National Bank is helping make the memorial accessible to the public.
The fee for adults (16 and older) is $7, those 15 and younger ride for free. Credit cards will be accepted for fee payment for the first time in 2018. The majority of entrance fees collected stay in the park and are applied to high priority needs that directly impact the visitor experience. This fee money paid for the rehabilitation of the memorial’s bronze doors and the interior wall tile replacement, both projects were completed simultaneously to the exterior work. The four doors on the upper plaza level were vandalized in 2017 and also suffered 100 years of wear. The double doors to the Observation Deck were in poor condition due to weather and other factors. All five doors are now in great condition and function properly. The total project cost of repairing all five doors was $171,000.
“Maintaining an historic structure that is 103 years old requires vigilance and some patience,” Superintendent Fearon said. “The maintenance is costly and we are often competing with other parks for those dollars.” Safety of visitors and staff, she added, is always the primary concern while park staff continually work toward securing funding to preserve the memorial column for future generations.