FOLEY – The Foley Veterans Memorial will be getting a new flagpole as part of plans to improve one of the city’s tributes to those who have served their country.

The Foley City Council approved the purchase of a new 40-foot flagpole at the site at Max Griffin Park. The pole now at the site is 20 feet high. The new pole, installation and lighting is expected to cost about $18,000.

The city also plans to move two cannons now in front of the former National Guard armory building to the park. The two 76-millimeter anti-tank guns will be placed next to the monument on South Alston Street.

Foley acquired the former armory building, located behind City Hall, in an exchange of property with the Alabama National Guard. The city donated property for a new armory now open east of the Foley Beach Express and received the building that had served as the local National Guard facility since 1969.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the new pole and artillery pieces will be a fitting tribute to local veterans.

“We wanted to upgrade the Veterans Park,” Hellmich said. “We hope that when we add the Army guns in front of it along with the new flagpole and the LED lighting, which currently we don’t have, it’s going to be a lot more impressive as a veterans memorial and fit how we support our military.”

The council voted to declare the 20-foot pole now at the Veterans Memorial surplus and donate it to the Foley Masonic Lodge.

City officials had studied a plan to move several existing flagpoles to new sites. Under the plan, an 80-foot pole on South McKenzie Street near the intersection of Laurel Avenue would have been moved to Riviera Utilities. 

The pole now at Riviera would have been moved to Veterans Memorial.

That pole has been replaced by a taller, 90-foot pole on the east side of the highway.

The 80-foot pole, however, could not be removed intact. One estimate to remove the pole was $5,800.

Brenda Shambo, city administrative assistant, said Riviera Utilities crews could cut the pole at no cost and move it to the city public works yard.

City officials said the internal pulley system that raises and lowers a flag is also broken, which could require installing an external system if the pole is to be used again.

Foley is also working on improvements near another memorial to veterans at Heritage Park. The city is adding new plaques near the World War II Memorial near the intersection of North McKenzie Street and East Violet Avenue.