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Project To Paint Tank Complicated By Questions About Ownership

Commission OKs Street Closure For Movie Night Oct. 6

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
A project to repaint the M4 tank on display at the Bataan War Memorial before Harrodsburg’s 250th anniversary celebration has been complicated by questions of ownership.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

A project to freshen up the Bataan War Memorial before Harrodsburg’s 250th anniversary has been complicated by questions of ownership.

The memorial, which is located on US Highway. 127 North, is an M-4 tank from the World War II era that commemorates the Harrodsburg Tankers, who endured the Bataan Death March of 1942.

“Everybody doesn’t have a big tank, but we do,” said Toni Preston, chair of the 250th Beautification Committee, at the Harrodsburg City Commission meeting on Monday, Sept. 11. Preston said the committee is still seeking pledges to get tank the painted in a way as approved the by the Department of Defense. Preston said they have received pledges from several local organizations, including the Lions and Rotary Club, and three bids.

“We are this close to getting the tank painted,” said Preston, who asked for city’s support and permission to proceed with the project.

However, finding out who owns the tank has turned out to be surprisingly complicated, despite the best efforts of Mayor Sam Carr, Jim Stinnett of the Military Personnel Services Corporation and the committee members.

The memorial dates back to 1961. While the city has been mowing and maintaining the property for years, it appears the tank belongs to the Bataan Memorial Committee—members Edwin Wilson Rue, John Elmore Sadler and Maurice Edward Wilson are listed on the monument—which has been defunct for years. Mayor Carr said the tank isn’t even on the Kentucky National Guard’s inventory.

“Our tank is not on that list,” Carr said. ” Legally we didn’t want to authorize Toni’s group when technically we don’t own it.”

The commission voted to grant permission subject to determining if the city bears legal responsibility. Preston said the committee will continue seeking pledges to get the tank painted.

“It’s been a journey trying to figure out who owns the tank,” Carr said.

The city commission also approved street closures for movie night next month.

Daarik Gray, executive director of the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission, said they play to show the Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus” at the lot located at 133 South Main Street on Friday, Oct. 6, starting 7 p.m. In addition to the movie, there will also be food trucks and costumed performers, Gray said.

On Aug. 29, the tourist commission completed the purchase of the empty lot next to Olde Town Park from John and Donna Holiday for $65,000.

“We want that lot to be a community lot,” Gray said Monday. They are hosting Yoga on the Lawn with instructor Matthew Higdon on Saturday, Sept. 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. The lot will also be utilized by the Harrodsburg First Main Street Program when Octoberfest returns starting Friday, Sept. 29. Gray said the tourist commission has bids to repair the sidewalk on Poplar.

The city commission approve street closures from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. including Main Street from Poplar to Olde Town Park and Poplar Street from Main Street to Greenville Street.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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