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War monument is moved out of city park without permission

Brian Kennedy, who had a war monument moved from a city park without permission, stands by it. It’s now located on his South Avenue property. Photo by Ed Runyan

YOUNGSTOWN — City officials expressed dismay that a war memorial monument was removed from a city-owned park without permission.

Brian Kennedy, president of Kennedy Trucking and a member of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, had been in discussions with city officials about relocating the monument about 165 feet from South Side Park, off of South Avenue, to property he owns at 1447 South Ave. so it can be more visible to the public.

But during a Thursday discussion with city council’s buildings and grounds committee, Kennedy said OT Beight and Sons, which is working with him, already moved the monument.

“How does someone remove city property legally without the city’s permission?” Councilwoman Anita Davis, D-6th, said. “It sets a bad precedent.”

Law Director Jeff Limbian said: “I’m frankly stunned this was moved without city approval. It was my understanding it was city property and a city monument. I don’t know how anyone can do that.”

Davis initially said the monument had to be returned to the park.

But she later said it “would be petty on my part to demand it be put back. But this wasn’t the way to do it. There’s a process.”

When talking about the memorial with the committee, Kennedy said he learned about the relocation just prior to Thursday’s meeting. Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, said he saw it at its new home Wednesday.

“This is an error,” Kennedy said.

He added he had no intent to “circumvent” city council or any city official.

Kennedy wants to set up a nonprofit organization to be in charge of the monument, which was built in 1961 by the South Side Citizens Committee.

It reads: “Dedicated to men and women of this community who served their nation in peace and in war.”

Limbian said he was concerned about what would happen to the monument if the nonprofit stopped existing years from now. He suggested making the monument’s new location city property.

“We’ll have to figure it out,” Limbian said. “We’ll be happy to rectify what is now a mess.”

Oliver, chairman of the buildings and grounds committee, said the committee will meet in about two weeks to give the city law department time to write up the proper legal documents to make the monument move proper.

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