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Improvements under way at Fort McCoy's Commemorative Area

New signs in place at the Fort McCoy Commemorative Area will provide visitors with information at a glance.
New signage identifies buildings in the 800 block of the installation as the Commemorative Area.
New signage identifies buildings in the 800 block of the installation as the Commemorative Area. (Photo by Al Fournier)

Rededication Ceremony set for Sept. 15

The Commemorative Area, located in the installation's 800-900 block, includes five buildings representative of World War II construction, a History Center and an Equipment Park. The History Center has a chronological display of history from the installation's founding in 1909 to the present. The Equipment Park features military equipment representative of that used throughout McCoy's 91 years of service.

Linda Fournier, Public Affairs officer, said the new signs will have two benefits.

First, the signs will provide more information about the area to visitors. While the Public Affairs Office (PAO) can provide tours of the areas for groups, the signs will improve customer service for individuals who may be in the area when the facilities aren't open and give them the opportunity to learn about Fort McCoy's history, Fournier said.

"The signs have photographs of items found inside the buildings as well as information about the construction of the buildings and what the buildings were used for," Fournier said. "The signs can be read at any time."

Second, the signs will have low or no maintenance costs and will not have to be repainted every couple of years.

A sign in front of building 839 tells visitors about the facility, its history and its contents.
A sign in front of building 839 tells visitors about the facility, its history and its contents. (Photo by Al Fournier)

The previous signs were deteriorating and needed to be replaced, Fournier said.

The signs were paid for with budgeted PAO funding that could be used only for Community Relations purposes. La Crosse Sign Company Inc., installed the signage.

Another recent improvement to the area was the installation of brightly colored patriotic banners, which were installed on power poles throughout the Commemorative Area to better identify the area to visitors.

Other amenities in the area are an outdoor picnic pavilion, which provides sheltered, outdoor picnic seating, and a soon-to-be-completed restroom facility. The pavilion was paid for with 1997-98 Army Communities of Excellence funds, and the restroom facility is being paid for with budgeted PAO funding that could be used only for Community Relations purposes.

The projects help to complete or support the Commemorative Area. Fournier said the area began with the designation of five buildings as the World War II Commemorative Area in 1992, during the 50th Commemoration of World War II.

Next came the Equipment Park. It is located next to the Commemorative Area buildings.

The attractions were completed by the relocation of the History Center to building 902.

Fournier said this established a kind of heritage area, where guests could learn about Fort McCoy's history through buildings, historical displays, military equipment, exhibits and artifacts.

Fort McCoy also has become part of Wisconsin's Heritage Tourism Sites, which will provide off-post connections to the site.

In addition to the installation signage telling how to get to the Commemorative Area, the Heritage Program soon will establish signage along State Highway 21 telling visitors how to get to the Commemorative Area from off post, Fournier said.

The program also will list Fort McCoy in the state's Heritage Traveler guide. The guide will include a map indicating Fort McCoy's location, along with the location of more than 200 other state Heritage Sites. Each site has a brief description, along with phone numbers and other information in the guide.

"It's another avenue for people to find us," Fournier said. "And, it's another opportunity to tell Fort McCoy's story (to an outside audience)."

For more information about Fort McCoy, call (608) 388-2407.

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