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  Memorial Manitenance Building Project


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 New building image when completed



Our Memorial Lawn maintenance equipment and Memorial Day Cross' were stored in a 8X10 shed (above) about two hundred yards from the Memorial.  The Memorial Grounds committee decided it was time for some improvement with a new maintenance building much closer to the Memorial.  With permission and encouragement from Ypsilanti Township we moved forward.  We reached out to some the same contractors who helped us add the parking spaces, ramp and sidewalk around the Memorial.  They were some of the same contractors who volunteered time and talent when our Memorial was built and dedicated in 1991. 

After they agreed to help, spring turned out to be very wet, causing delays in most construction projects around the state.  The footing could not be dug until 5 May. 

New Building

The new building will be 10 by 16 feet.  It will have an 8 foot wide garage door on the south end for the lawnmower.  It will have an access door on the east side as well.  The walls will be 12 feet high, to facilitate hanging storage of tools and equipment.  There will be a load-bearing ceiling above the garage area for seasonal and longer term storage items.  The building will have one sealed window in the north gable end to provide some natural light during daylight hours.  There will also be LED lighting throughout.  The electrical plan calls for enough 120 volt outlets to facilitate charging batteries for electrical equipment.  DTE installed the transformer on the utility pole to supply electrical power to the Memorial Maintenance building.  The transformer was paid for from donations to the project.  Our plan is to buy electric equipment for replacements of any gas equipment that reaches the end of its useful life.  There will also be outside access to power for lights and sound systems used during ceremonies at the Memorial. 

The building is what they call stick built, and will have steel siding and steel roof, to make it low maintenance and animal resistant.  We will do what we can to make the building bland looking, so that it does not draw the eye away from the memorial.  Eventually, we will hide the building behind arborvitae trees.  The main building was designed and will be built by Todd M. Johnson Construction Company, with labor being provided by Ken Moldovan, son of the Kenneth Moldovan, a VVA member who is remembered on our podium.  The township is going to let us continue to use our old shed for storage of crosses and retired flags and other items we rarely access.

We wanted water in the shed for watering plants, shrubs and the grounds, but also for cleaning the memorial and our tools and equipment.  Will Luker is designing the underground irrigation system and leading the way to finding donors of the equipment and labor needed to install the system.  With both electric and water, we will be able to power wash the sidewalks and easily rinse the Memorial.










Our original storage shed was hauled to its current location on November 15, 1995.  The shed was donated by The Friends group which are now the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, (AVVA).

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shed2 shed5
shed4 shed1

November 15, 1995

The above images are of the original shed that was transported to its current location on the Ypsilanti Township grounds.

Where we currently store our Memorial maintenance equipment.

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Diversified Excavating & Underground Utilities, LLC

Diversified Excavating dug the original trenches, located the water main and  taped into for the water line for our new maintenance building.

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Electricity Conduit Istalled By Dennis
Hibbits, (not pictured)
Maintenance Building Foundatation Water Line With Shut Off Installed
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backfill laying out water main IMG 0217 2
   Water Line Shut Off Valuve  
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By then Doan Construction was more than 50 days behind its concrete delivery plans.  The same storms that caused the delay getting the trench dug continued through the summer, causing further delay with the concrete pour, and causing the ground around the trenches to collapse and fill with water. 

Although COVID-19 relief payments made it hard for the industry to find competent employees, it was the rain delays that really backed things up.  That’s when Fredo reached out to Michigan Training Local 499 who came to the rescue. 

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Michigan Union Training Local 499

trenchcleanout after cleanout footing form
          Local 499 Repairing The Rain Damage                Footing Forms Installed
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footing poured foundationform pouring foundation walls
                   Footings Poured            Foundation Forms Installed      Local 499 Pouring The Foundation











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floorpour  floorfinish

 The buildings floor sand base being compacted and the cement floor poured and trolled.


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Left side is the cement ramp that will lead to the overhead door to the maintenance building.  Right side is the building's 10X16 footprint.


Once the building construction is complete, Local 499 plans to return to do final grading, reseed, and final site cleanup.  They also plan to provide more wood chips for the area between the building and the trees so we don’t have to operate the mower near the building.  Both Local 499 and Diversified are planning to help us put in a small berm on the back property line that will allow us to plant native Michigan wildflowers and perennial grasses and plants, to provide a better backdrop for the memorial.

Wendy Hibbitts, AVVA member and Memorial Grounds maintenance crew member, has promised to find the people needed to take the place of VVA Chapter members who retire from the maintenance crews, so that maintenance will still be a personal thing done by volunteers for at least one more generation.

The above mentioned maintenance crew members consist of four three person teams that mow, trim and weed the Memorial grounds weekly under the watchful eye of Memorial grounds chair Al (Fredo) Merritt.  If you would like to be part of that please contact Fredo. 


Text:  Jon Luker

Images:  Jon Luker & Vance McCrumb