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Neighbors Not Thrilled About Proposed War Memorial

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The nation's largest war memorial could be calling Kansas City, Kansas, home. But not all of the proposed project's neighbors are convinced that it's right for their neighborhood.

The proposed $30 million memorial would cover 20 acres of the 60 acre City Park in Wyandotte County, and would honor soldiers killed in conflicts from the Gulf War to present.

Plans for the memorial include two 130-foot towers with an American flag draped between them, plus a learning center, auditorium, flags for every state in the union and picture tiles to remember the over 7,200 soldiers the U.S. has lost since the Gulf War.

Tonya Evans, founder of the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation, says that the location overlooking I-70 is great because it's in the middle of the country, and the Unified Government appears to be willing to donate the land.

"We feel that a central location to access, to make easier access for everyone across the nation to be able to come and visit it," said Evans.

Neighbors like Melinda Tovo, herself an Army veteran, aren't so sure about the location.

"I like the idea, I just don't like the idea of it being right in my front yard," said Tovo. "I think it will lower the value of the properties to have a retaining wall put here in front of our homes instead of what we're used to seeing, which is trees and grass."

In addition to the concerns of neighbors, there's also the small matter of raising the $30 million for construction. Supporters of the memorial say that they could break ground if they can raise half the money - $15 million - first.

By their own admission, they have a long way to go.

"Right now we have about $10,000 in the bank, so not a lot. We've got quite a ways to go," said Evans. Still, she says that she is confident that the funds will be raised. But her first priority is to reassure the proposed memorial's neighbors.

A spokesman for the Unified Government told FOX 4 that the park land has not been officially donated yet, but city leaders think that the site is a good one, and are pleased that KCK has been chosen for the memorial.

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