Columbia resident Butch Morrison is offering to restore a cannon at the Veterans Memorial Bridge Plaza for a $1,000 commitment from the borough. He offered the proposal at last Tuesday's Columbia Borough Council meeting.
According to Morrison, the wheels on the northernmost cannon need to be restored, a project that will take about 3 months and cost an estimated $1,800. He said he'll also paint the cannon on the south side of the plaza.
Morrison said he restored the wheels 20 years ago (along with former Lancaster mayor and cannon enthusiast Charlie Smithgall) and installed concrete pads to keep them off the ground, but moisture from mulch has damaged them again. $800 that's left over from the previous restoration will supplement the requested $1,000. Morrison is volunteering the labor for the restoration and said any funds left over from the project will be returned to the borough.
Council kicked around a few ideas on how to get the funds, but in the end nothing was decided.
"SGT Damian J.M. Smith, a historian for the Pennsylvania National Guard, expressed interest in acquiring the 3-inch artillery piece that currently rests near the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Smith asked that the borough consider a mutually agreeable arrangement for obtaining the piece, which would ultimately rest in the Military Museum at Fort Indiantown Gap. He also stated that the military could simply take it without the borough's consent, since it is still considered federal government property, but they prefer not to do so. Smith stated he is currently in pursuit of a similar but more valuable piece in Arizona and said if unable to acquire it, he would then be more inclined to take Columbia's. When asked by council how he found the piece, he replied that newly installed lights near the bridge allowed him to see it as he drove past. Council agreed to research how the borough had originally acquired the piece. One resident estimated it had been at or near its current location for about 60 years. Councillor Barry Ford directed Smith to the local 11-11-11 Club for assistance in the meantime."
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