SHIRLEY -- The spiffy new banners flying from lamp posts along Front Street -- aka "the avenue of flags," and the town's main thoroughfare -- went up over the blistering 4th of July weekend, installed by War Memorial Trustee volunteers.
Sponsored by local businesses, the banners are part of a fundraising campaign for ongoing renovations at the War Memorial Building. Improvements so far include an accessible bathroom and memorial plaques honoring Shirley war heroes, installed in the lobby and paid for by IC Federal Credit Union.
Kitchen upgrades, paid in part with funds approved at Town Meeting, are about half complete, said Trustee Chairman Norman Albert. He is hoping that fundraising can cover the rest of the job.
Money raised from banner sponsorship will be used to install an elevator in the pre-WWII-era, town-owned building, whose use and upkeep the trustees are responsible for. The elevator will give "our aging veteran population ... full access to both levels of the facility," Albert said in a recent press release.
Visitors who can't climb stairs will also be welcome to use the elevator, he said.
The banners feature a side-view silhouette of a soldier in combat gear, propped on one knee, rifle in hand. Bold black letters proclaim: "(Name of sponsor) Proudly Supports Shirley Veterans."
Banner sponsors are: IC Federal Credit Union, Main Street Bank, Fidelity Bank, National Grid, Old Navy Remodeling, Mayer Wood LLC; Classic Construction, Mitrano Removal Service, All-Star, AMPAC Enterprises, Phoenix Park, LLC; Senate Construction Corp.
The banners will remain in place through mid-December, after which sponsors can renew for next year or opt to take their banner down to display at their business.
Albert thanked all of the sponsors, as well as National Grid, Verizon and the town for allowing the program to move forward.
"Shirley residents by and large have always supported the veterans in this community," Albert stated in the release. "Most are aware (that) were it not for these people's (veterans) actions, we might not be here to celebrate our freedom."
Albert said others helped out as well, donating various "smaller amounts" to the effort, he said. These contributors include Edward Marshall, Shin Shirley Cleaners, Moore Lumber, Sandy Hyde, Bull Run Restaurant, Village Pizza and Noyes Insurance.
Initial cost estimates for installing the elevator is $80,000 range. "Every donation is deeply appreciated," Albert said.
The trustees also aim to apply for grants and explore other ways and means to reach their fund raising goal before launching the legal bidding process, Albert said.