Dixon Veterans Memorial Park putting plans together for new museum

Park receives 501 C3 charitable organization status

Al Wikoff (left) and Tom Bushman plant flags Friday, May 27, 2022 at Veterans Memorial Park in Dixon in recognition of Memorial Day. The group will plant 200 flags throughout the park.

DIXON - The Dixon Veterans Memorial Park is getting closer to fulfilling a longtime goal of creating a museum.

In August 2019, the Dixon City Council approved buying Ron’s Automotive next door to the park at 1217 Palmyra St. for $165,000 from owners Ron and Ruth Dewey, using funds the park commission raised across many years.

The facility will house a museum showcasing military equipment, uniforms and artifacts, and there also will be space for an office and a workshop/meeting area.

The building used to be Ron’s Auto Repair. The board bought the property about two years ago.

Environmental tests were conducted and came back clean, and designs were put together for the building.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic put work on hold.

“The pandemic really slowed us down, really buckled our knees,” commission member Al Wikoff said.

In the meantime, the park commission was granted a 501 C3 charitable organization status.

Dixon Veterans Park board members Keane Hudson (left) and Mike Jordan stand with display cases that will be used in the new veterans museum in Dixon. The board bought a former auto shop next to the park and is moving towards renovating the facility to be used to showcase their mementos and artifacts.

Hoists were recently taken out of the building, and the commission got a utility shed to help with storage, he said.

They will need to do work on the floors, walls, HVAC and lighting as well as improvements to the building exterior.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ll get it done,” Wikoff said.

A sign is up naming the park and museum, and Wikoff said they’re looking forward to installing a flag pole that was donated by the Shamrock Pub.

The museum is located on Palmyra Street in Dixon, across from the Shell gas station.

They also have work to do to renovate the park entrance and exit arbor, which reads “Lest We Forget.”

With the 501 C3 status, the commission is also looking forward to working with other museums and organizations such as with trading artifacts or showing special items temporarily.

“It’s exciting to talk about all the possibilities,” Wikoff said.

The park is dedicated to all veterans of military service and is a place where future generations can visit and gain knowledge of the sacrifice made by millions of veterans over the years.

Go to honorourvets.org for more information, to purchase a legacy stone or to donate to the park.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.