Bids being sought for Vet’s Memorial

Aerial view of planned combat veterans’ memorial. | LandPlan South

BLYTHEWOOD – Longtime Blythewood public servant Malcolm Gordge, representing the Blythewood Historical Society & Museum, came before town council April 24 requesting that council release the $40,000 the town had budgeted for the BHS&M to use toward the design and construction of a proposed veterans combat memorial. 

Councilmen Donald Brock and Rich McKenrick questioned this release of funds, noting that for projects on the scale of this design work, the standard procedure is to receive multiple bids.

Initially, Gordge said the historical society planned to go ahead with the design project using the firm that gave the initial estimate – without seeking additional bids.

“We stuck with LandPlan South because of their reputation, because of their commitment to Blythewood and Doko, etc.,” Gordge said. “It gets us off to a running start with someone that knows the town so well.”

“I think this should have competitive bidding,” Brock said. “They (the winning bidder) may not even be the lowest – but they may be the best,” he said.

“I don’t think government should always go with the lowest bidder. We did that with the tractor. We picked up what we thought was the best product for our money. I think we owe that to the citizens,” Brock continued.

“I believe we asked them to come back with multiple bids,” Brock said. “Am I mistaken in that?”

Mayor Bryan Franklin said he thought council had discussed it previously – but had not made it a requirement.

McKenrick said before the council releases the $40,000, it should be required that the BHS&M receive multiple bids.

Gordge said LandPlan South, who they’ve worked with on initial planning efforts for the memorial has provided an estimate of $23,500 to complete the planning work that’s needed.

The remainder of the $40,000, he said, would go toward a fundraising campaign to raise the total amount needed for the project: an estimated $265,000.

McKenrick and Brock cautioned against rushing the process, citing the need for the town to follow the correct process as a governmental entity.

McKenick assured the historical society representatives that the money could be placed in an earmarked account and would not be lost in the event that the fiscal year ends before the bidding process is complete.

“I’m not saying you won’t be the best bid, but I’m saying for fiduciary responsibilities we should put this out for bid,” McKenrick said, noting that the town is currently facing lawsuits related to a similar issue. “This is what gets us in trouble as a council – when we go by emotion and not by common sense and what we’re required to do.”

Brock agreed that the town must follow the correct process, pointing to the need for consistency.

“We bid out a playground, we bid out tractors, we bid out the comprehensive plan, we bid out the code rewrite, we bid out almost everything,” he said. “I think that we should bid this out.”

The town, which gave initial approval for the monument’s design and location in the fall, committed the $40,000 to the project to help get it started. The historical society will be responsible for raising the remainder of the funds.

Brock made the motion to wait on releasing the money budgeted for the project until a request for proposals has been advertised, bids have been received, and Blythewood Historical Society has selected which firm will handle the work. The motion was approved unanimously by the council.

The process of requesting and obtaining bids is expected to take about a month. Once bids have been received, the historical society is to bring the information and its decision before the council to request disbursement of the $40,000.

The 15-and-a-half foot monument will be in front of town hall.


The monument, which is proposed to be located in front of Town Hall, will have space to list the names of approximately 240 sons and daughters of Blythewood that have served in combat for the U.S. armed forces.

However, the Director of the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce, Phil Frye, submitted a letter to council in opposition to the project. The letter was read into the record.

In his letter, Frye argued that the $40,000 earmarked for the project could instead be spent on revenue-generating improvements to town facilities.

Members of the council, however, expressed support for the project to move forward.

The letter also called for the council to relocate the memorial site to a different location than in front of the Town Hall. Frye suggested it be located on property the Town recently purchased at the intersection of Sandfield and Langford roads.

Jim McLean, who was representing the project for the historical society, reacted to the letter, declaring, “The location and the plan has already been approved by the town on Oct. 24, 2022.”

Eligibility for Names

Also at the meeting, the council gave its blessing to the historical society’s requirements to determine which individuals will be eligible to have their names listed on the monument.

All those listed will be required to prove their service in combat on foreign soil with either their DD-214 form or equivalent documentation, according to information shared in the meeting.

Also, they will either need to have been a resident of the greater Blythewood area (defined by school district lines) at the time they began their service or they will need to reach a certain number of points in a calculation that takes into account things like longtime residency, service medals, and meaningful contributions to the town.

However, someone who falls short of the points required can potentially make up the remaining points needed with a recommendation from the historical society and a town representative, based on the specific details of their case.

Council voted to table the request until the Historical Society can issue an RFP and choose the bidder who will do the work.

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