ROYAL OAK, Mich. – There is a heated battle in Royal Oak over the planned move of a war memorial.
The city plans to move the current one as part of a larger park project. A veterans’ group is adamant that the monument must stay where it is.
The memorial is surrounded by construction fencing currently, and that’s the problem. Construction begins over the summer, but a group of veterans doesn’t want anything to change.
The city of Royal Oak plans to move the monument as part of a larger project to rehab the space and turn it into a park. The monument is set to move 40 feet.
Frank Roche spent 26 years in the Army. He doesn’t want the memorial moved.
“Where we’ll have road-noise, trucks, etc. ... That’s where we moved it form in the first place when we moved it to the center,” Roche said.
City officials said the street the monument is near, Troy Street, isn’t busy.
“Troy street is not like Main Street ... It doesn’t get the traffic -- From that respect -- Look, you’re talking 40 feet. Is it going to be that much noisier?” Royal Oak City Manager Paul Brake said.
The issue dates back to 2007 when the memorial was moved from a noisy, congested area a few blocks away. Citizens donated for the new memorial and an ordinance was written to protect the land around it.
The group argues the city’s plan to move it violates that ordinance. The city argues that the ordinance only says the memorial has to stay on the same land.
Those pushing to keep the memorial as-is filed petitions with the city this morning. They have about half of the 600 signatures they’ll need to force a public vote.
“They say only 40 feet. I say the same. It’s only 40 feet. Why can’t you keep it where it’s at? Not an absolute need -- It’s a want,” Erica Sykes with the Save the Memorial Group said.
The veterans’ group is also accusing the city of not inviting them to the table to discuss plans for the park and the monument. The city said there’s been plenty of opportunity during public meetings.