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New Richmond nets state tourism grant for Moving Wall event

A visitor locates a specific name on the Moving Wall during its stop in Trimbelle, Wis., in September 2007. (Photo by Jon Echternacht)

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has awarded a $17,600 grant to the City of New Richmond to help publicize a five-day visit by the traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial known as the “Moving Wall.”

The Moving Wall, based in White Pine, Mich., has traveled around the country since 1984. From Sept. 10-14, it will be in New Richmond, thanks to efforts by local members of New Richmond VFW Post 10818, New Richmond American Legion Butler-Harmon Post 80 and Chapter 331 of the Vietnam Veterans of America among other groups.

“It’s a joint-effort marketing grant, which means that it’s not just one community applying for it. It requires a number of communities to be involved,” said organizer Scottie Ard.

Ard, who also serves as the District 2 Alderperson on the New Richmond City Council, said the communities of Somerset and River Falls also coordinated with New Richmond, through their various veterans organizations to help secure the grant funding. Even with multiple cooperating communities, the City of New Richmond didn’t have an easy time getting the grant.

“The competition was stiff,” Ard said. “It is incredibly tough to get one of these grants when you’re looking at a community our size, especially when you look at communities like Milwaukee and Madison that have signature events that have been going on for decades.”

The $17,600 of grant money must be used to advertise the Moving Wall event, and a full advertising plan had to be submitted along with the grant application.

According to Ard, organizers intend to spend money advertising in the New Richmond News and other RiverTown Multimedia print and online properties in the eastern Twin Cities metro area. In addition, a large portion of the funding will go toward TV ads in both the Eau Claire and Twin Cities markets.

“We will be embracing print, television and online advertising,” Ard said. “We’re still looking into radio.”

Ard said the media blitz will likely take off in August with some smaller press releases leading up to then.

In the meantime, Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt and his crews are tasked with getting New Richmond’s Freedom Park ready for the big event. Plans call for a new gravel road from the soccer field area leading to County Road CC, along with a new parking area and temporary restroom facilities.

“I just talked to the county about getting access drive sited,” Wendt said. “We’re going to meet out there this week and make sure, because we are accessing a county trunk highway, that they’re OK with what we’re looking at as far as placement.”

Once the county signs off, Wendt hopes to get the roadway staked out. Then it’ll just be a matter of getting gravel down.

“We’ve been hauling gravel and stockpiling it to get ready as we’ve had spare time, but as soon as we get the construction staking done, then we’ll really be ready to go full speed on that.”

Ard said the event promises to be a big draw for the area, as veterans look to observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“This is going to be a momentous event,” Ard said. “This is something you should be bringing your children to so they have the knowledge and the experience of this wall. You can’t even get near it without experiencing the emotion that goes along with it when it comes to the number of lives lost and the impact it had on this country.”

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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