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ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY - November 11, 2015
Missouri Historical Society to Operate and Renovate Soldiers' Memorial
On Nov. 11, 2015, the Missouri Historical Society signed an agreement with the City of St. Louis to take over the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum, to begin $30 million in renovations, including cleaning the exterior of the building and the Walker Hancock sculptures, as shown above with the statue representing "Courage."
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), November 11, 2015 - On Nov. 11, 2015, leaders of the Missouri Historical Society and the City of St. Louis signed a construction oversight, museum development and operating agreement in regards to Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, located at 1315 Chestnut St in downtown St. Louis.
The agreement allows the Missouri Historical Society to lead a $30 million dollar renovation of the historic structure to create a state-of-the-art museum facility that honors military service, veterans and their families.
According to a release, the Soldiers Memorial Revitalization Project is still in the design phase, but every effort is being made to maintain the architectural and historic integrity of the building.
The St. Louis architectural firm Mauran, Russell & Crowell designed the classical Memorial with an art deco flair. St. Louis born sculptor Walker Hancock created four monumental sculpture groupings entitled Loyalty, Vision, Courage and Sacrifice to flank the entrances. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the site on October 14, 1936 and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum opened to the public on Memorial Day, May 30, 1938.
The renovations will include the addition of a museum-quality HVAC system. Interior storm windows will be added to minimize light exposure to the artifacts while allowing the original windows to remain in place. Updates will also bring the building up to ADA compliance, with the addition of a second elevator, bringing the current elevator up to code, adding a chair lift to the upper floor, and more. The lower level of the museum will also be renovated which will more than double the amount of exhibition space. Overall the building will receive a face-lift. The exterior of the building will be cleaned, including the beautiful Walker Hancock sculptures. The Court of Honor will be revitalized with the addition of fountains. New monuments will be added to honor St. Louisans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the foreign wars that followed World War II.
Under its agreement with the City of St. Louis, the Missouri Historical Society is responsible for the two-block area from Pine Street to Market Street, between 13th and 14th Streets. That includes the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum at 1315 Chestnut St. and the Court of Honor, located directly across Chestnut from Soldiers Memorial. The use of these two blocks for special events will be at the sole discretion of the Missouri Historical Society.
MHS will not take over operation of the other parks surrounding Soldiers Memorial, such as Eternal Flame Park, Kaufman Park and Poelker Park. The City of St. Louis will continue to schedule private events for these spaces.
The Soldiers Memorial Revitalization Project and operation of Soldiers Memorial by MHS will be funded almost entirely by MHS, using restricted funds donated to them specifically for that purpose. Soldiers Memorial will receive no additional tax dollars than it already receives. The City of St. Louis will continue to pay roughly $150,000 annually to cover the utilities and the salaries of the two City employees who currently work for Soldiers Memorial.
It is anticipated that Soldiers Memorial will close in spring of 2016 to allow construction to begin. MHS expects Soldiers Memorial to be closed for a little more than two years during the renovation process. The hope is to reopen Soldiers Memorial in 2018.
Preliminary rendering of Soldiers Memorial renovations. Rendering created in November 2015. Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society.
Ameren Ranks Top Military-Friendly Employer in Missouri
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), November 11, 2015 - G.I. Jobs magazine, a publication of Victory Media, announced that Ameren Corporation was recognized as 50th among the top 100 Military Friendly® Employers in the United States. For the seventh consecutive year, Ameren ranks highest among all Missouri-based companies making the list.
G.I. Jobs analyzed the benefits of more than 5,000 companies on the strength of military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with prior military service, and company policies regarding National Guard and Reserve service. The top 100 Military Friendly Employers list will be featured in the magazine's December 2015 issue.
"We are honored to be a military-friendly employer, and we continue to look to former military personnel to fill key positions throughout our company," said Mark Lindgren, Ameren senior vice president, corporate communications, and chief human resources officer. "Veterans are skilled, hard-working and motivated employees who understand the importance of teamwork and service. We are proud of the contributions they've made to our country and our company."
Ameren's efforts to recruit military members include military parade sponsorships, base visits and participation in career fairs targeted at military members. Since 2012, Ameren has hired 150 military veterans and spouses, closing in on the goal of hiring 200 in five years as part of the White House's Joining Forces initiative. The company also sponsors the Ameren Military-Veteran Employees (AMVE) group, which serves as a resource for military veterans and their families, and provides generous benefits to support members and their families during times of deployment.
"From sending care packages to deployed troops to building wheelchair ramps for disabled veterans in Missouri and Illinois, Ameren and AMVE are dedicated to providing the kind of support veterans need where and when they need it," said Darin Hendry, an Ameren supervisor and U.S. Army veteran who also leads AMVE. "This year we are proud to support retired Cmdr. Richard Valenta, an Ameren retiree and World War II veteran, on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II memorial. We can't think of a better way to recognize him for his service."
Valenta, who worked at Ameren (formerly Union Electric) for 23 years, served as a merchant marine in World War II, volunteered for the Korean conflict and retired from military service in 1974. Ameren and AMVE are covering the cost for Valenta's flight and the cost for his son to accompany him on the Honor Flight as the required guardian.
"It's outstanding that Ameren stepped in and did this for me," said Valenta.
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