Lake City Reporter

Skinner proposes monument to local police, firefighters

By JUSTIN LANG jlang@lakecityreporter.com
Primarily they protect, save and preserve life and property.

But local law enforcement officers, EMS employees and firefighters wear many hats.

And while their feats may be legend, they themselves are mere mortals, sometimes joining those who have fallen providing the services their community counts on.

County Commissioner George Skinner hopes these local people will be given memorial in a new monument.

"This is something I have wanted to do for a long time," Skinner said. "I was real sensitive to their service to our community and wanted to do something in their honor. There's (currently) nothing to honor them and I think there should be."

Several months ago, Skinner established a county "Memorial Committee" to plan and develop the project honoring "anyone in public safety that has fallen in the line of duty."

He also went to heads of local law enforcement and public safety agencies.

"They all thought it was a wonderful idea and something that needed to be done," he said.

Skinner went before the Lake City Council on Monday night to request city land for the monument's placement.

"I shared with them my vision," he said.

Skinner said he wanted the monument to be in a "place of honor," either in Olustee Park or overlooking Lake DeSoto in Millennium Park.

The council agreed to use Millennium Park for the monument, but also referred approval to the joint Lake City/Columbia County Beautification Committee, which met Tuesday.

Both the council and the committee are working on a definitive policy for monument placement, but said Olustee Park will be used for national memorials only.

"Millennium Park will work fine" said Bettye Lane, city councilwoman and committee chair.

But while its use is official, City Manager Joe Cone said exactly where in the park the monument will be located has yet to be decided.

The monument itself is to be six and half feet tall, with two white granite posts sitting on a base. Connecting the posts - in the center of the monument - the outline of Columbia County will be featured in black granite. Each agency, such as the Florida Highway Patrol, County EMS or Lake City Fire Department, will have a logo and the names of individuals will be underneath.