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Debate 'Heats' Up Over Proposed Firefighter Memorial

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A memorial for North Carolina's fallen firefighters in downtown Raleigh has stirred a heated debate.

Carl Regutti said he could not be more proud to sculpt a memorial for North Carolina's fallen firefighters with his own hands.

"[It] has so much meaning to it. It has so much heart in this sculpture," he said.

The original plan was to erect the memorial in Nash Square in downtown Raleigh, but some people such as art gallery owner Lee Hansley, who is against the location.

"I am not against the firemen," Hansley said. "What they would do to put in this monument is they would bulldoze the center of that park and reconfigure it to accommodate this monument and a whole system of walls and names and plaques would be on, and I just think it's inappropriate for Nash Square."

Others have criticized the location of the memorial, including the Raleigh Arts Commission, which recently voted against putting it in Nash Square.

"They felt like putting a memorial in Nash Square would be bastardizing the site," Capt. Andy Woodall of the

North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation

. "Give me a break. This is real life. It's going to be a memorial that's second to none in the United States."

"It is still what I would consider a desecration of that park by putting something that humongous in the middle of it," Hansley said.

The Raleigh City Council approved the Nash Square location. Despite that, the Raleigh Arts Commission plans to take its concerns to the City Council next week.


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