The steering committee for the Northern Valley Law Enforcement Memorial has announced that fundraising for the project is nearing its target, and construction could begin later this summer.

The committee has raised about $203,000 of $250,000 for the project, and is now advertising bids for construction work. The NVLE Memorial will be located inside Optimist Park, north of 47th Avenue South, and will be dedicated to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in northwest Minnesota, northeast North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

“I'm glad we're moving on this because it's important to me as a retired sheriff, and other law enforcement officers, that we honor the people that have sacrificed everything for the people in these communities,” said Bob Rost, committee chair and Grand Forks County Commissioner.

In effort to bring fundraising for the project across the finish line, NVLE committee members have established the Thin Blue Line Fundraiser, which will run from May 9 to May 15. The fundraiser runs through National Police Week, which has been observed since 1962, and recognizes law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

More than a dozen local businesses will participate in the fundraiser by donating a portion of their sales to the memorial. Participating businesses can be found on the Grand Forks Park District’s website, and donations will come through a customer ordering a “Thin Blue Line” meal or item.

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The NVLE Memorial is also one of the beneficiaries of the Red River Valley Motorcyclists Bike and Car Show Fundraiser, held at the Alerus Center from May 8-9. Admission to the show is $5, and proceeds also go toward the Veteran’s Memorial Park, and Honor Flight of North Dakota and Minnesota.

According to Jill Nelson, spokesperson for the Park District, and memorial committee member, the funding goal will need to be met before construction can begin, but groundbreaking could happen as early as this summer.

“In an effort to reach our goal, we thought a community-wide fundraiser during Police Week would be a great way to raise awareness about the project and raise funds at the same time,” Nelson said.

When completed, the law enforcement memorial will feature a granite monument representing each jurisdiction in the Northern Valley, memorial benches and pavers, flagpoles, a statue of a fallen officer and plaque recognizing donors or $1,000 or more. Information about the project and how to donate can be found online, at the Park District’s website. The memorial is being designed by ICON Architectural Group.