American Legion asks park district for decision on memorial statue

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By Sandy Barnes

Representatives of the Evergreen American Legion and Rotary Club have asked the Evergreen Park and Recreation District board to make a decision on a statue planned at the Veterans Memorial Walk in Buchanan Park.

Area Rotary Clubs have made contributions for the statue, which would depict a Vietnam-era soldier kneeling and holding a rifle.

If the project is not under way by June 30, the funding for the statue could be lost, said Bill Downs, assistant Rotary governor, while speaking at the public comment portion of the Feb. 26 park district board meeting.

“Five area Rotary clubs have banded together and all support this application,” Downs said.

“I know it’s been not the clearest of paths,” said EPRD Executive Director Scott Robson. “I appreciate all of your passion.”

Robson said that he wasn’t clear if the statue were to be considered as a national monument. Another consideration is that there is a park district policy prohibiting war icons on park grounds.

“The rifle is part of the uniform,” said Legionnaire David Rommelman. 

The park board agreed to place the matter on the March agenda for consideration.

“I want to address it because we’ve been punching it around far too long,” said board President Mark Footer.

During the meeting, board members also reviewed a grant application for the Wulf Park project in progress.

The $199,000 request to Great Outdoors Colorado would bring funds to improve the south portions of the park, said Robson. If the grant is received, funds could be use to create a youth tennis court and mountain bike course, he said.

“It will be a great benefit to our summer programs,” Robson said.

If the park district receives the grant, there would be no additional cash match, he added. Funds that already have been allocated would be used.

“Should we be concerned that we have already received grants?” asked board member Peter Lindquist.

“It could be a concern,” replied Robson. “They will score every grant on its own merits,” he added. “I think it will be looked at positively.”

“Is this the end?” asked board member Janet Heck Doyle. “We’ve spent almost $1 million on the park. That’s a lot of money.”

“It’s the end if the board would like it to be the end,” replied Robson.

Doyle also said that during community meetings on Wulf Park improvements, residents had asked for lighting at existing tennis courts and skate park upgrades.

“How do we address the comments we heard from people?” she asked. “We’ve spent almost $1 million, and still and all, we’re not addressing the biggest cry at those meetings. … How do you respond to those people?”

Robson said that the park district is investing $35,000 on the skate park and that lighting at the tennis court was a contentious issue among residents.

“It’s a big park, and it needs this investment,” he said.

The Wulf Park project is well under way and includes grounds and sidewalk improvements, a welcome plaza, a new shelter and playground equipment replacement.


Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.