Vandalized Brackenridge memorial set to be restored by Memorial Day
With the help of donations large and small, the vandalized honor roll memorial in Brackenridge Memorial Park is expected to be restored to glory in time for Memorial Day.
Authorities believe someone painted parts of the bronze memorial with silver paint and put black caulking in its cracks in a misguided and unwanted attempt to repair or improve it.
Work is now underway on the memorial’s structure, consisting of limestone and sandstone, while the plaques are away for restoration, said Dino Lopreiato, a borough councilman and president of the Brackenridge Improvement Group.
Restoration of the memorial had been in the works. The vandalism accelerated it, he said.
In the park, FPF/Conidi Landscaping & Construction is taking care of the stone work, Lopreiato said. That has included pressure washing, removing the caulking and repointing the bricks. They are also rebuilding the planter at the memorial’s base.
The plaques, which had 1,184 names upon them when the memorial was dedicated in 1965, and the memorial’s other bronze pieces are in Finleyville, where Mike Boso of Mike’s Bronze Restoration is working on them at his shop.
When Boso visited the memorial in February, he said his plan would be to 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 will help it last longer.
In total, the restoration work is costing between $12,000 and $13,000, Lopreiato said. The improvement group is covering nearly all of the cost with donations.
“Compared to anything else we ever did, this is one of the quickest restoration projects we’ve had, from beginning to end, starting with raising the money down to finishing it,” Lopreiato said.
Contributions ranged from as little as $5 or $10 up to $3,000 given by a donor that wants to remain anonymous, he said. Some came from people out-of-state whose relatives’ names are upon it.
“We want to thank everybody, the community and the organizations that donated,” Lopreiato said. “We really appreciate them helping out to make our community just a little bit better.”
Memorial Day is on May 27.
If work is finished as expected, the memorial may be rededicated during the Memorial Day observance scheduled for 1 p.m. May 26, Brackenridge American Legion post Commander Frank Svitek said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .