Mountain View Voice

News - May 31, 2013

City set to design new veterans memorial

by Daniel DeBolt

The City Council has decided that the two plaques in Mountain View dedicated to war veterans just aren't enough.

On May 14, the City Council approved the Human Relations Commission's (HRC) request for $4,000 for a new memorial and to begin a process for coming up with a design. Two memorials already exist, a plaque next to a tree behind City Hall dedicated to veterans of American wars between World War I and the Vietnam War, and a plaque dedicated to veterans of World War II at Eagle Park's flag pole.

"We used to be a Navy town — military is more a part of our history," said council member Mike Kasperzak. He and other members said that suggestions for another plaque didn't go far enough — "a plaque is really underwhelming."

"There are all kinds of ideas more interesting than adding another plaque," said council member Ronit Bryant. "I would love to have some kind of water feature so somebody could just sit and listen to the water and the plaque will be there."

Specific proposals have yet to be made, but the HRC wants a memorial "inclusive" of veterans of more recent wars, a "a cost-efficient, but serene and contemplative memorial" that would "honor men and women connected to Mountain View who have served and are serving in the United States Armed Forces."

The commission members also suggest a "'buy-a-brick' program where family members could 'buy' a piece of the memorial and engrave names into the space around the memorial."

"Having bricks with names I think would really enrich the project if we did it that way," Bryant said. "I would like to make it a richer project."

"I expect the question of whether to add the names of veterans to the memorial will be part of the community conversation as we design the memorial," she said later , via email.

Resident Cindy Newman said the memorial could be "a focal point for ceremony and quiet reflection and cost-effective addition to an existing memorial, maybe at Eagle Park." Her husband Ken Newman of American Legion post 558, added that "my only concern at this point is the $4,000 and whether or not that would be ample for a nice memorial."

In a word of caution, City Manager Dan Rich said the city of Campbell has spent over six years designing a veterans memorial that has yet to be built. He was was Campbell's city manager before coming to Mountain View in 2011.

"I caution you to be careful about how grand you want it to be," Rich said.

Council members supported the idea of forming a committee to work on the project with members from the City Council, the Visual Arts Committee and the HRC.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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