A $25 million gift from founder Leslie H. Wexner and his wife, Abigail, will be used to transform in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the reports.
Earlier this week, Columbus mayor Michael Coleman unveiled a multiyear redevelopment plan that would create a vibrant educational and cultural district on the west bank of the Scioto River. Among other things, the plan calls for razing the existing Veterans Memorial complex and replacing it with a glass-and-steel structure housing a museum and open-air amphitheater. According to the Dispatch, there is talk of having the new structure serve as Ohio's Veterans Memorial and of seeking contributions from the state for its construction.
While architectural designs for the new memorial have not been finalized, an artist's rendering of the proposed structure includes a raised processional that spirals up to a rooftop gathering space that would be used for ceremonies, while the lower floors would house a museum of Ohio military history, complete with interactive exhibits designed to teach children about the contributions of Ohio veterans, as well as meeting space for military service organizations. Although the cost of and timeline for the project have not been released, design work on the new museum could begin as early as this fall, with demolition of the existing building to begin in the spring of 2014, said president Guy Worley.
Former Sen. John Glenn (D-OH), who chaired a committee of veterans that provided input on the concept, said the biggest benefit of a new memorial would be the ability to incorporate modern, interactive exhibits that inspire children to value service. "Veterans came together and said they want to see their past experiences not only appreciated for their own self-interest but to see it build something better for the future," said Glenn.