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Bikers Protest Veterans Memorial Demolition Plan

More than a hundred motorcyclists rallied Saturday at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial. They were protesting plans by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation to tear down the memorial and replace it with an amphitheater. Steve Ebersole speaks for the local American Legion district, one of the groups opposed to the memorial’s demolition. Ebersole says what developers really want is the real estate. “What they want to do is take the rest of the 17 acres – the 12 acres on the back half – and build up apartments and condos. So in my opinion it is purposely a land grab,â€? Ebersole says. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says he wants what he calls a “true memorial to our veterans.â€? Guy Worley, head of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation says there’s no reason why the city can’t be home to the best veterans’ memorial in the U.S. Both men support tearing down the almost 60-year-old building with its auditorium, meeting and office space and replacing it with an amphitheater. But the American Legion’s Ebersole says public support is against demolition. “Veterans as a whole in this community do not want the memorial torn down,â€? Ebersole says. Last month the development corporation said that a new 25-million-dollar memorial would be paid for by Les and Abigail Wexner.