The North Fork Valley is proud of its coal mining heritage. One way that heritage is honored is through the bronze miner's statue memorial at Paonia Town Park. The statue was dedicated back in 1982.
The area surrounding the statue recently underwent a re-development, led by a committee of citizens, mine employees, and relatives of coal miners. The area is intended to serve as the official entrance to the park and to all who helped to create it.
Included in the project are two memorial walls. The Town of Paonia is currently accepting orders for memorial dedications, to be carved in granite and placed on the walls.
Memorials are intended to commemorate those who contributed to or support development of the North Fork Valley, the community, industry, and Paonia Town Park. Only the names of individuals or entities will be allowed on the wall and all submissions must be approved by the Town of Paonia. Messages will not be considered appropriate for engraving.
According to David Bradford, who is leading fundraising efforts, the walls were the idea of committee member Don Emmons, who served on the original Miner's Statue committee. His relatives are honored on the plaque at the base of the Miner's Statue, along with other miners who died while working in the local mines. Emmons envisioned the walls as honoring miners both living and dead, and the community, said Bradford.
A goal of $25,000 must be reached for the project to move forward. That will cover purchase of the granite panels and caps, and engraving. There is sufficient space on the walls to generate more than $40,000, and any additional funds raised will go toward replacement of the name plaque on the front of the miner's statue, said Bradford. Estimated at a cost of $3,500, the new plaque will correct misspelled names and standardize the font type used, said Bradford. Any remaining funds will go to maintenance of the area and additional benches.
Plaques are available in small 4x8-, medium 8x8-, and large 12x12-inch sizes. Cost ranges from $100 to $300. Small spaces can accommodate up to four lines of characters, with 20 characters per line (80 characters total) for a cost of $100; 8x8 bricks can be engraved with eight lines of 20 characters (160 total) for $200; and the large 12x12 are big enough to hold 12 lines with 25 characters per line (300 total).
For an additional $50, one of six selected symbols can be included on the medium and large spaces only. Symbols represent the coal mining industry, mine rescue, the fruit orchard industry, the ranching industry, Mount Lamborn and Landsend, and a spruce tree. Adding an image will reduce the space available for lettering.
Application forms and flyers are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 214 Grand Avenue. For more information or to download a flyer and application form, visit TownofPaonia.com.