FOLEY – A pair of World War II era anti-tank guns that stood for decades in front of the Foley National Guard armory will soon have a new permanent home as part of the community’s memorial to veterans.
Foley acquired the armory after the local National Guard unit moved to a new facility on the Foley Beach Express in January. For several months, city officials have been working with the U.S. Army to also take ownership of the two guns that stand outside the armory.
The process included an inspection by Army personnel in March to make certain that the guns had been deactivated and were not able to fire. While the city acquired the armory site, the artillery pieces remained the property of the Army.
The Foley City Council voted to have concrete pads poured near the city’s Veterans’ Memorial at Max Griffin Park to prepare a site where the guns will be placed.
Army officials are waiting to confirm that the concrete pads have been placed before the two guns can be released to the city. The project is expected to cost about $12,000.
Jeff Lee, Foley parks and recreation director, said the work should complete the series of steps needed before the guns can be put in place.
“This should be the final phase in us being able to relocate the old anti-tank guns from the old armory to the memorial at Max Griffin Park,” Lee said. “One of the Army’s requirements was for us to have them on a concrete base, so we’re going to contract out, have those paved and then be able to move the guns. So I hope this is the last step in this process.”
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the city will also place markers describing the guns and their history.
“We are also going to work on doing some descriptive placards that give a little history,” Hellmich said. “A lot of times people wonder where these are from. So, we’re going to try to come up with something to tell people about them, the era.and information like that.”
Foley officials are working on plans to renovate the armory building for municipal offices and other purposes.
The city also plans to construct a new flagpole at the Veterans Memorial in Max Griffin Park in addition to placing the artillery pieces at the site.