Menninger veteran community, Independence Hall plans underway

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka veteran is moving forward on plans to create a living village for veterans in need at the Menninger Tower, providing shelter, food and medical facilities.

Sammie Williams first proposed the idea back in February. Now he is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit known as the Spirit of Independence Hall Veterans Home. He’s calling it Indy Hall for short.

Phase I of the project includes Menninger Hill Park, open to the public, with a stage for events and fountains.

Independence Hall will be the first veteran’s home, with a foundation office, community care center and a place to live. Freedom Hall will house urgent care among other facilities to take care of veterans from around the country.

Camp Freedom will be used for mental health treatment for the veterans. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the space will be open for churches, civil air patrol, boy and girl scouts and other groups. There will be a swimming pool and other amenities to be used for the summer.

The entire project will be done with local builders and designers.

“We will use both union and non-union labor,” Williams said. “We will also use local Topekans as much as possible so we can give back to the community that is being so gracious to us to use that tower as our home.”

The Menninger Tower will also be operational and serve as a beacon for Indy Hall.

“They’ll recognize that tower and they can see us for miles around Topeka,” Williams said. “They can come up here regardless of the income level, regardless of what state they live in.”

The community will be inclusive for all veterans, not just exclusively Kansas veterans.

“If they’re a veteran and they can provide us with veteran paperwork we will take care of them,” Williams said.

Williams will speak to city officials on Thursday, hoping to begin construction within 60 to 90 days.

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