The American Legion Roderick-Crosby Post 28 color guard marches to the front of the World War I Memorial Arch in Farmington during 2019 a Veterans Day ceremony. The Mt. Blue Area Garden Club is asking the county for support in making improvements to the memorial along Route 4. Franklin Journal file photo

FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners advised a representative from Mt. Blue Area Garden Club on Tuesday to assess priorities and prices for proposed improvements to the World War I Memorial Arch on Route 4.

Libby Kaut, the club’s representative, presented several ideas to the commission, including have the stone cleaned.

“I think it would be a project that we could involve different groups of the community to help put it together,” she said. “I’ve learned in my research the arch is a very important monument not just for Maine, but nationally. It is very unique and honored.”

The monument was erected in 1924 to honor Franklin County veterans who served in World War I. The club is asking commissioners for support and funding to improve the site to better honor its history. The county currently has a reserve account of about $10,000 for the upkeep of the memorial.

“I think it would be nice to add interpretive signs on the sites,” Kaut said.

Something could also be done with the area behind the monument such as parking or having a covered structure with seating or other features. Other ideas discussed included adding a World War I Honor Roll and documentation of the local history, while Kaut said she believes there should be a retaining wall along routes 4 and 27. There are also some steps from the original design of the monument that could be included in the new design.

Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton asked Kaut if there has ever been a safety issue at the site and she said she has never fallen into the road. Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington said that routes 4 and 27 are state roads and not in the county’s purview.

There has never been lights at the site, so Kaut suggested it would be good to have them installed along with the means to fly a large flag.

The club is also interested in improving the garden area. Ideas included redesigning it in historical style using the basic site, while adding raised beds, urns, planters, a path and benches.

Currently, the turf and soil are “very bad,” she said, which makes growing anything even tougher. There is a basic irrigation system but mowing and other maintenance is difficult due to the risk of clipping the hose that provides the system’s water. The club takes care of the flowers there while the county takes care of mowing the grass.

“I think (the landscaping) should be redone and the irrigation system improved,” Kaut said.

Harvell asked Kaut to get prices and then prioritize the improvements, with a retaining wall probably being a little lower on the list.

Kaut said she will also talk to local historian Paul Mills to see if he wants to get involved in the project.


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