The president of an organization attempting to build a memorial for troops who were killed in the war on terror said he wants to put the memorial in Charleston but hasn't found much support for his idea.
Jason Savage, president of War on Terrorism Memorial Inc., based in North Carolina, said he has contacted Patriots Point Development Authority and the city of Charleston and feels ignored.
Savage, a Charleston native, began working on the memorial about three years ago to recognize troops who died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. When searching for backing and funds, Savage said he was told that his organization needed to select a location before accepting money.
"We thought Charleston was an excellent area for the monument given the history of the military," Savage said.
He said he made a presentation to David Burnette, executive director of the Patriots Point Development Authority, in September and is still waiting for an answer.
Burnette said he hasn't heard from Savage since the fall, but said if he did hear from him, he would have to say no for now.
"We are just starting a master-planning process," Burnette said. "We are not making any commitments for things like (the memorial) at this time."
Jim McElroy, the authority's director of communications, was not familiar with the memorial but said organizations often come to the authority wanting space, and often the problem is financial.
Savage said he has asked only for land for the memorial. He hasn't raised any funds yet. War on Terrorism Memorial Inc. is still in the process of becoming a 501(c)3 organization, which could allow for tax-deductible donations.
Ellen Dressler Moryl, director of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs, said she remembers talking with Savage but said he needs to route his request through the Charleston Arts and History Commission.
"I think Charleston would be a desirable location," Moryl said, but added that Savage needs to make a request through proper channels. She said she would be happy to assist, if he calls back.
"It's not a lack of interest," Moryl said.
The process would include acceptance of the monument's design.
Savage and sculptor Carl Regutti envision a circular memorial made from granite, complete with a tribute to and photograph of each service member. The tribute and photo would be engraved on surgical steel, potentially lasting hundreds of years.
Thomasville, N.C., hopes Charleston's potential loss is its gain. Mark Scott, Thomasville's director of tourism, said the city has the perfect site along Interstate 85.
The patriotic town already is home to the North Carolina Vietnam Memorial and attracts 10,000 people to its annual Memorial Day parade, Scott said.
"City officials are excited about the possibility of this memorial," Scott said. "They would love for it to come about."
In the meantime, Savage is waiting to give Thomasville an answer.
"Carl and I still like Charleston, but if Charleston doesn't want it," Savage said, "then there is nothing we can do about it."