Brackenridge officials eye restoration of honor roll memorial in wake of vandalism
Someone’s ill-advised attempt to improve the honor roll memorial in Brackenridge Memorial Park will speed up its proper restoration.
Borough officials are considering going ahead with a full restoration of the 54-year-old memorial’s bronze and stone, including removing unwanted silver paint that was recently applied to it.
The memorial, featuring the names of veterans of both World Wars and the Korean War, was dedicated on May 29, 1965. The culmination of a four-year effort, it originally had the names of 1,184 veterans on it.
The memorial is believed to have been damaged in darkness between Feb. 9 and 13. Officials believe whoever did it came to the memorial on at least two separate occasions.
The top and bottom of the memorial’s bronze plaques were painted silver, and paint dripped onto veterans’ names and the U.S. flags on the ground. Medallions on flag holders on the ground and atop the monument were also painted silver, as was an eagle at the top.
Black caulking was applied to the perimeter of the bronze plaques and in some cracks in the stone.
The nonprofit Brackenridge Improvement Group will take on the effort to restore the monument. The organization last year finished work on the nearby castle, or arch, monument, said group President Dino Lopreiato, who is also a borough councilman.
Lopreiato had Mike Boso of Mike’s Bronze Restoration look at the memorial Tuesday.
“I was pretty amazed someone could take the time,” Boso said of what was done. “I don’t know if they were trying to better it.”
If hired to do the work, Boso, of Finleyville, said he’d favor removing the bronze to work on it in a controlled environment, which he said would produce better results.
Boso said he would sandblast the plaques to take them down to their natural bronze, apply a base coloring and then highlight and polish each name. A clear coat would be applied to help it last longer.
The work would take about three weeks, he said. He could not immediately say how much it would cost.
“I’m not looking to take advantage of the situation,” he said.
Lopreiato said the memorial’s stone, discolored and broken and cracked in spots, would be worked on while the bronze is away.
The borough owns the park and the memorial. If undertaken by the borough, the borough code would require it to get formal bids for any contract over $20,600, or three price quotes if the cost is between $11,100 and $20,600. No bidding or quotes would be needed for purchases and contracts less than $11,100.
Lopreiato said the improvement group would get at least three price quotes after the borough gives it authorization to proceed. The group is seeking donations to help pay for the work.
Authorities have not identified the vandal or vandals responsible. Police are continuing to investigate, including looking for surveillance camera footage from the area showing anything suspicious.
Although whoever did it appeared not to be trying to deface the memorial, Lopreiato said it’s still vandalism.
They had “good intent, but very bad mental capabilities,” he said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .