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Council to pitch in with cost of veterans memorial

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By Patrick Smith

During their Nov. 12 meeting, Galax City Council members pledged to donate $7,000 to the newly constructed Blue Ridge Veterans Memorial.
Council’s idea of making a donation to the memorial originated at the Oct. 8 meeting, when Council Member Margo Crouse made a motion to sponsor the memorial. At that time, council discussed the possibility of making a donation, but they ultimately decided to postpone a decision until the Nov. 12 meeting.
City Manager Keith Barker said he hoped the donation would inspire other others in the area to donate to the project, and he said more donations would speed up the memorial’s completion.
The first phase of the memorial, next to the Galax Public Library, was unveiled on Veterans Day. It includes granite monoliths with insignia for all branches of military service.
In other action Nov. 12, council:
• appointed Cathy Parks to the Board of Zoning Appeals to replace Ruth Hall, who recently moved outside city limits.
• accepted a grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation that will award the city $43,500 to develop a stormwater control program. Barker said Galax was one of the few cities awarded the grant and received the full amount requested.
• heard that the city’s health department, located at 730 S. Main St., is moving to a new office in December. The new office will be at 502 S. Main Street. Barker said the move should only close the office for about a week.
• learned that Galax was awarded approximately $400,000 from a Safe Routes to School application.
The funds will be used to improve sidewalks, student drop-off areas and street crossings around the city’s schools to encourage more students to walk or ride bicycles to school. The improvements could also include the development of a “bike library” where students can rent bicycles, complete with helmets and other safety equipment.