Work on the expansion to the DeGlopper Memorial in the heart of Grand Island continued this week with delivery of retaining wall blocks to the worksite.
Three tractor-trailer loads of retaining wall blocks, donated by Kistner Concrete Products of Lockport, were delivered April 19. According to Dan Drexelius, project manager for the DeGlopper Memorial, each block weighs 1,600 pounds and will form an end wall around the north side of the park to create a central entrance to the memorial that will direct memorial visitors in from the parking lot.
"We're going to plant these next weekend. We're going to fill them with topsoil and we'll plant 7-foot spruce trees on top of them," Drexelius said.
Once everything is planted and after this year's Memorial Day services, workers will put in drainage and a clay cap, Drexelius said.
"By next Memorial Day, it will be perfect again," Drexelius said.
The DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Committee announced plans in 2016 for expansion and improvements to the park at Baseline Road and Grand Island Boulevard. A groundbreaking for the expansion took place June 9, 2016. The expanded memorial will honor Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper, who served with the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army and was killed in action June 9, 1944, during the D-Day invasion. He later received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The park will also honor Islanders killed in action, Island veterans, and Gold Star mothers.
The footprint of the memorial will expand north toward Adrian's Custard & Beef on a property that was once a Mobil gas station.