Armory Square fund drive

Sales of $93,000 worth of engraved bricks for a new walkway across the front lawn of Marietta’s Armory Square may be vital to the opening of a portion of the National Guard Armory building this year.

The funding is needed for the local match to obtain a $252,000 National Scenic Byways Grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“This could mean the difference in either obtaining that grant or not,” said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs council’s lands, buildings and parks committee.

He said the grant money would allow occupancy of a portion of the renovated armory building by WASCO Inc., a veterans services office and Lakefront Bus Lines.

“It will also provide public ADA-compliant restrooms for people walking on the nearby River Trail or anyone in downtown Marietta,” Noland said. “And these facilities are not just for citizens of Marietta, but for all of Washington County.”

Working with WASCO Inc., members of Armory Square Inc., a nonprofit group helping support the armory renovation, has already raised and contributed $96,000 toward the project through the sales of approximately 3,000 engraved bricks for the Veterans Walk of Honor on the north side of the armory building.

Engraved bricks are still available for the veterans walk, but now Armory Square Inc. and WASCO are offering bricks to a larger segment of the community that will become part of a new walkway on the lawn directly in front of the armory building.

“These bricks can be engraved to suit any business, group or individual throughout the community,” said Nancy Harris, business development manager for WASCO.

She said orders are already coming in for the engraved “community walkway” bricks, and noted there is no restriction on what can be engraved on each brick. The only limitation is the size of the brick, which can accommodate a total of 18 to 20 letters on three lines.

“We can also group family names together in a specific area of the walkway,” Harris said. “The size of the walkway will be determined by how many bricks we sell, but I can see this as an ongoing project that could continue over a period of time.”