About Operation Renew
The lack of funds to properly maintain the facility over many years has led to an unacceptable state of disrepair.
A 2011 Milwaukee County audit acknowledged the County’s inability to adequately fund the repair and maintenance needs of the building. The report further indicated that:
“the facility’s state of disrepair reflects poorly on the community’s level of commitment to fulfill its intent to honor American veterans who have fallen in service to their country.” Operation Renew was commenced to address the shortfall of funding necessary to restore the general physical aspects of the Veterans Courtyard while enhancing its accompanying features.”
- It is increasingly difficult to conduct dignified military ceremonies, civic events, and to provide an appropriate place for reflection in this diminished environment;
- While the Courtyard is now unsightly, of equal concern is that the deteriorating infrastructure poses the potential of being unsafe for visitors.
What Needs to Be Done
To restore the Veterans Courtyard to its original grandeur, work will begin with a complete reconstruction of the Courtyard deck. The most prominent feature of the new Courtyard is a large Ring of Honor constructed of black granite laid in the deck. At approximately 35 feet in diameter, it will highlight the names of the more significant American conflicts since World War I.
A new movable “wall of glass” will facilitate seasonal access between the main lobby and the Courtyard for visitors. Water spouts encircling the reflecting pool will gently enhance the solemnity of that popular feature. Additionally, new lighting, a new sound system, a centrally located base for the American Flag, and the mounting of the flags of all five branches of the services will be added.
The War Memorial Center has three major goals:
- To provide a solemn setting where citizens can pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces;
- To offer a gracious dignified location for conducting military, civic, and social events and ceremonies;
- To present an inviting informative setting in which to nurture the patriotism of our youth.
The Financial Goal
The WMC Board set a goal of raising $1.5 million for Operation Renew, which was met by the generous contributions of Veterans and individual donors. Milwaukee County also supported the initiative by making a generous commitment to fund the early stages of the project.