Note: This story was updated at 8:45 p.m.
The project to build a new pavilion for the International Friendship Bell and relocate it in Alvin K. Bissell Park could cost $750,000, and volunteers and officials have already raised more than half of that, or just over $400,000, through paid donations and pledges.
Volunteers had a public kickoff for the project at Oak Ridge Associated Universities on Thursday. At that kickoff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory donated $150,000 to the project, and Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs contributed $10,000.
The exact amount paid or pledged is about $416,579, according to a kickoff presentation.
Here are some highlights of that presentation:
The wooden pavilion that used to house the bell close to ORAU had deteriorated, and the pavilion was demolished in 2014.
The goal of the new Peace Pavilion is to “create a striking and significant new community gathering space, serve as a thoughtful symbol of our history and dedication to peace, become a unique feature of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and a key attraction for its visitors, and be constructed with Japanese cooperation, consistent with the forging of the Bell in Kyoto, Japan, over 20 years ago.”
A Citizens Advisory Committee was formed, two architectural designs were proposed, and public input sessions were held.
The cantilever support design that was chosen “magnifies the presence of the International Friendship Bell by making it visible from all perspectives,” and it “represents the strength of resolve of both the U.S. and Japan to maintain peace.”
A slight re-location has been proposed with A.K. Bissell Park. The new location would be on a larger tract of land more centrally located within the park and within an existing walking loop. It’s also more visible from Oak Ridge Turnpike, near the Civic Center parking lot, and adjacent to a large, grassy event area.
Construction could start in the last spring 2017, with “substantial completion” by March 31, 2018.
Here are the fundraising projections:
- Government agencies: $130,000
- Major corporations: $200,000
- Other businesses: $150,000
- Individuals and organizations: $200,000
- Grants: $70,000
The City of Oak Ridge is listed as a founder, meaning it’s contributed at least $50,000. UT-Battelle falls into this category as well.
Those listed as global ambassadors for the project, meaning they’ve donated or pledged $25,000 to $49,999, are Priscilla and Jim Campbell, Wanda and Pete Craven, the Postma family, and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC.
Partners in Peace, those who have pledged $10,000 to $24,999, are Shigeko and Ram Y. Uppaluri, Pat and Tom Row, an anonymous donor in memory of Herman Postma, the Sister City of Naka, Japan, and The Roane Alliance. The Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs fall into this category as well.
There are other landmark donors as well, those who have contributed $5,000 to $9,999: James B. “Jim” Ball, Lou Dunlap, and Bonnie C. Carroll and Roy H. Cooper.
Here is some background about the bell:
The International Friendship Bell, which was installed at A.K. Bissell Park in 1996, is 8,000 pounds of bronze cast with images that symbolize the peace and friendship shared by Japan and Oak Ridge. The new Peace Pavilion will enlarge the public gathering area around the bell.
With the recent establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which includes several sites in Oak Ridge, the International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion is expected to be among the significant tour stops for visitors interested in the city’s history.
The idea of the Japanese-style bell originated with Oak Ridge residents Ram and Shigeko Uppuluri from India and Japan, respectively, as a symbol of unity between the United States and Japan and to serve as a monument to the post-war reconciliation and peace between the two nations.
The bronze bell is nearly seven feet tall and five feet wide, designed by an Oak Ridge artist and cast by a family foundry in Kyoto, Japan.
Oak Ridge was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II to help make the world’s first nuclear weapons. Uranium enriched in Oak Ridge fueled the first atomic bomb used in wartime; it was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Japan surrendered shortly after a second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
In the words of the late Alvin Weinberg, who was a former director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, noted nuclear physicist, and advocate for the bell: “I hope it will become a shrine for the many visitors who, by their pilgrimage to the Friendship Bell, will be participating in the sanctification of Hiroshima and the permanence of the tradition of nonuse.”
More information about the International Friendship Bell and the fundraising campaign is available at http://friendshipbell.com/.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous stories here.
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