NAUGATUCK — A committee devoted to raising money for the restoration of the downtown World War I monument has nearly reached its fundraising goal.
The monument committee has raised $35,000, leaving its members just $5,000 short of their $40,000 quote.
A large chunk of the funding came last year when the local government put $20,000 in from the state’s Local Capital Improvement Program toward restoration efforts on the monument.
The memorial, which is located on Meadow Street near Salem School, was constructed in 1921. It was built in the neoclassical revival style and made of limestone and granite. Inscribed on the face are the names of Naugatuck veterans who lost their lives in WWI.
Ron Fischer, a Vietnam veteran and commander of American Legion Post 17 in Naugatuck, leads the monument committee and said he feels the restoration must be done not only for the war’s fallen soldiers, but for the borough of Naugatuck.
“This monument is a tribute to the veterans, but it’s a tribute to this town, too,” Fischer said. “Naugatuck is a very patriotic town and we take care of our veterans; we need to continue to take care of the monuments.”
Fischer is joined by fellow committee members and borough residents Mindy Fragoso, who is also a burgess, Dom Alegi, Nancy Piscitelli, Mike Kelly, Joanne Cipriano and Lisa Silva.
Fischer took on the project because he feels the borough hasn’t done enough to restore Naugatuck’s monuments, which he thinks should have been done a long time ago.
“I believe that the borough in the past should have developed some sort of a maintenance plan,” Fischer said. “If they did, we wouldn’t have gotten into the situation we are in now.”
Once the monument’s restoration is complete, Fischer said he will seek the implementation of a plan, hopefully with the cooperation of borough leadership, that will ensure periodic checks and maintenance.
The contractor will begin work in the spring while the committee continues running local fundraisers to obtain the remaining $5,000.
The memorial committee has received several bids from companies that restore monuments ranging from $15,000 to $85,000. It has decided to go forward with a quote of $40,000 from a company called ConservArt of Hamden. ConservArt says the restoration they will do can preserve the monument permanently.
Fischer feels those who served need to be honored appropriately, and that the monument’s restoration would be a step toward that end.
“To let this monument deteriorate like it has is not acceptable,” Fischer said. “We need to get it back in shape. We have to keep the memories of the Naugatuck men who lost their lives in the war alive.”
The committee will be outside of the Naugatuck Walmart on New Haven Road from open to close this Saturday accepting donations from residents and other customers.
Donations can be mailed directly to the World War 1 Monument Fund, c/o The Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan Assoc., 333 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770.