ROSWELL, Ga. – City Hall may look quite different after the Roswell Rotary places three large stone entranceways on the grounds, creating a pathway dedicated to America’s fallen soldiers.
Dubbed the “Walk of Valor,” the large portals will mark the entrances to a pathway behind the City Hall building into the wooded area where the Faces of War Vietnam memorial stands.
Dave McCleary, president of the Roswell Rotary, said this was a large undertaking and is intended to add to Roswell’s reputation as honoring the fallen soldiers.
“The Faces of War memorial is already there. We feel that’s already sacred ground,” McCleary said.
“We feel like it would be the perfect place for it. We have a World War II monument there that was moved there six years ago.”
Roswell is already the site of one of the largest Memorial Day ceremonies in the Southeast, which takes place around the Faces of War memorial.
Roswell Councilman Rich Dippolito said he and his Blue Ribbon Committee, which is an advisory committee on business community issues, have been trying to give City Hall more of an active role in the Canton Street experience.
“We were talking about walkways through City Hall,” Dippolito said. “Is there an opportunity to do something here beyond just some walkway?”
So he went to the Rotary for ideas and found out they were starting to think about the Walk of Valor.
“At that point, it became pretty obvious we should pool our thoughts together and create something pretty exciting for the city,” said Dippolito.
As the site of memorial ceremonies throughout the year, the woods behind City Hall mark a clear boundary between the complex and Ga. 9’s traffic, but also to Canton Street.
Dippolito said that, while it is a quiet and serene area, it also creates challenges to redeveloping south of City Hall.
“Although it’s very nice and very pleasant, it acts like a barrier to what’s going on in Canton Street,” he said. “It’s a delicate balance between having a memorial where you respect and honor the people who fought in those wars and having an area that is active that will bring some life and vitality to that part of town.”
Dippolito said he would like to see the area transformed into a town green, where events can take place in an open setting. He said not only would that create a more vibrant atmosphere in the area, it would also open City Hall up to Canton Street’s events.
The Walk of Valor portals are expected to cost about $25,000 and will be funded entirely through private money. McCleary said Georgia Power has already donated $5,000 to the fund.
Along with the portals, McCleary said Rotary intends to install up to eight small markers, each dedicated to a war in which Americans fought. These markers have not yet been designed.
“We feel it’s a great opportunity to identify those wars,” McCleary said. “It can be used for students and for history. And it ties in perfectly with the Faces of War memorial that’s already there.”
Of added importance to McCleary and his fellow Rotarians is that these portals would bear the seals both of the city of Roswell and of Rotary.
“This would be the first permanent location where our seal would be in the city,” McCleary said. “We’re kind of excited about that.”