Veterans, Neighbors Try to Block Billboard near I-255, Cemetery

By Mark Schlinkmann Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 23, 1997 | Go to article overview

Veterans, Neighbors Try to Block Billboard near I-255, Cemetery


Mark Schlinkmann Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Some veterans in south St. Louis County are in another fight these days. They are trying to block a billboard from going up across Interstate 255 from Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Joining with residents of a nearby subdivision, they say the sign - planned for the south side of the highway near Kinswood Lane - would intrude on the "green space" atmosphere around the 300-acre cemetery for veterans and their immediate families. More than 115,000 people have been buried there.

They also worry that approval of the sign by county officials could make it easier to get other signs built on the north side of I-255, right next to the cemetery. The county Planning Commission voted to endorse the sign last month but has delayed sending its report to the County Council. The council will make the final decision. "Once they set that precedent, that's it," said George Gray, a member of the Bevo chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. "There are no more buffer zones in there except for the highway." However, Ralph Church, administrator of the federally run cemetery - a South County landmark for 169 years - can't see what all the fuss is about. He sees no reason to oppose the sign, because it would be on the other side of the divided interstate. "I don't think that's going to detract from the cemetery," Church said. …

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