Supervisor Dave Roberts pledges $80,000 toward Solana Beach Veterans Honor Courtyard during Memorial Day ceremony

Note: photos from the event will be published on this page later this week.

By Kristina Houck

A little more than a week after the Solana Beach City Council unanimously approved $80,000 for the construction of the Veterans Honor Courtyard at La Colonia Park, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts pledged another $80,000 toward the project.

City officials and community members erupted with applause and cheers after Roberts made the announcement during the city’s Memorial Day ceremony May 26 at La Colonia Community Center.

“Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, once this project is done, people will be able to come to this courtyard to honor our veterans … and really reflect on the true cost of what these conflicts have on our nation but, more importantly, what they have on the local communities of Solana Beach,” said Roberts, who served as guest speaker at the ceremony. “We stand here united to show you that we understand how to work together for the values we all hold dear, and our top value is honoring those who have served so that we can stand here to really make this the wonderful community that we all love.”

The planned courtyard will feature a stone veneer wall with military seals behind a reflecting pool. It will honor all U.S. veterans, living and deceased, as well as those who are currently serving at home and abroad.

The project is estimated to cost about $200,000. With Roberts’ selection of the courtyard as his “2014 signature project” and the council’s designation of funds during the May 14 council meeting, those spearheading the project have almost reached their goal.

As of May 26, another $21,000 in private donations has been raised, said former Mayor Tere Renteria, who is leading the volunteer-led Veterans Memorial Committee, which is heading the project.

“I’m in awe,” said Renteria, who had tears in her eyes after Roberts made his announcement.

“For some families, every day is Memorial Day. That’s what we must never forget.”

A $4 million improvement plan for La Colonia Park and Community Center included recognition for veterans, but the project was put on hold indefinitely due to lack of funding. Funds were to come from the city’s redevelopment agency, but Gov. Jerry Brown abolished redevelopment agencies in 2011.

In 2012, the council approved plans for what was originally slated to be a veterans’ memorial, after a community group asked if the project could move forward separately from the La Colonia renovation.

Currently, a flagpole and a 2-foot boulder serve as a memorial at La Colonia Park, where the city and Solana Beach Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431 host annual Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies. Pictures of veterans are also posted on a wall inside the community center.

Led by VFW Post 5431 Commander Randy Treadway, the 2014 Memorial Day ceremony featured the presentation of colors by the Camp Pendleton Young Marines, a military musical melody by the Santa Fe Christian School Band and a “Doves from Heaven” release.

“I’m very honored to be part of this important occasion. On behalf of the entire Solana Beach City Council, our city’s deep appreciation goes out to all who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces and their families,” said Deputy Mayor Lesa Heebner during the ceremony. “We are indebted to them, and we will not forget.”

Construction plans for the courtyard are being completed, Heebner said. The city will issue a request for proposals as early as July. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the fall.

“Next year for our Memorial Day ceremony, we will have a brand new Veterans Honor Courtyard put together by the community, county and city, for all of us to be here again to celebrate this beautiful day,” Heebner said.

To raise funds for the project, the community group is selling 12-by-12 inch tiles that will be placed in the courtyard. Tiles will feature the name, rank, branch of service, war and years of service of any veteran, and cost $300 each.

For more information about the project, and to donate or purchase a tile, visit

vetshonor.org

.


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