The town of Cornelius and members of American Legion Post 86 are planning a veterans memorial near town hall.
It will include names of veterans, living or deceased, who served in the U.S. military forces, received an honorable discharge and lived in Cornelius at some point.
About 400 names have been collected, but organizers estimate that number will rise to about 600 as the project is given more publicity.
Cornelius officials have not authorized funding for the memorial, but organizers say it's likely to be built within the coming year. If the memorial cost exceeds what the town is able to contribute, post members said they may consider a fundraising campaign.
"For the past several months we've been gathering names of veterans and looking at the type of monumentation and memorials we could do," said Andrew Grant, assistant town manager. "We're excited. We feel it's something good for the community."
Harold Little, 86, a post member who has served the town in various capacities - including mayor - pitched the idea to the town board months ago.
Little said the town used to have a veterans memorial; he said it was more than likely mistakenly lost or destroyed while being stored during the development of the town and, most recently, during the building of the new police department and town hall.
Little and his fellow post members, Gene McKinney, Dee D'Oria and John Washam, make up the veterans memorial committee. Their mission is simple: to honor those who have served.
"I thought we needed to bring it back to reality so I mentioned it to the board one night, and they told me to come up with an idea and they'd look at it," he said. "People stopped at the old one time and time again, and we just thought that because it had been there for so many years it'd be a good idea to construct a new one. We just thought it would be something we could be proud of while honoring service men and women of the past."
A site has not been confirmed, no contracts awarded and no other plans have been finalized. However, Dave Bridle, co-owner of Winecoff Memorials in Statesville, has been involved with the planning and offered a design.
It features a concrete walkway that leads visitors to a 30-foot, decagon-shaped concrete pad. The memorial would be dotted with granite monolith-type tablets that would stand about 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. In the center, there would be four, 4-foot-long granite benches that surround a 30-foot-tall flag pole.
The memorial would be a permanent fixture that allows names to be added, Bridle said.
That design would cost about $50,000, Bridle said, and could be completed in about three months.
Bridle said, if Winecoff Memorials got the job, it would be one of the company's biggest projects of 2010.
"Each job is an entity of its own but any time we get to work with the veterans, it's a big deal," he said. "We take jobs like this very seriously, just like we would any job, but obviously this is a really unique job for our company to handle. Once it's finished, it's going to be a real tribute to the heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice. We feel honored to be a part of it."