BY SUE WEBBER
A crowd of enthusiastic citizens – including a good number of veterans – turned out at the groundbreaking Oct. 10 for a Rogers Veterans Memorial.
The Veterans Memorial, scheduled to be opened officially July 4, 2014, will be located at the current Triangle Park, 21600 Rouillard Ave. The park will be renamed Lions Park.
It will include a monument representing the five branches of the service, a central flag pole, an engraved monument wall, donated granite pavers, granite benches, and a memorial garden. Eventually, the plan is to incorporate a park shelter building, a pavilion for community events, an asphalt trail, ballfield, horseshoe courts, a splash pad, basketball half-courts, and a children’s playground.
“This is a very important piece of our community,” Acting Mayor Rick Ihli said. “We want to remember our soldiers forever. We plan to never forget the service and sacrifices they have made.”
Dale Fuller, chairman of the Rogers Park Board, said plans for the Veterans Memorial began several years ago, when the Lions expressed a desire to enter into a joint effort with the city.
“They wanted to identify a location they could call their own,” Fuller said. “They wanted it to be a location the whole community could enjoy, something centrally located and easy to get to. This is a great place to do it.”
According to Fuller, Rogers “has a long history of supporting our veterans and people who served in the military.”
“This will be a place for reflection, to spend time and to be proud of,” Fuller said. “Our veterans mean a lot to us.”
Next summer’s ribbon-cutting event will be part of Rogers’ centennial celebration, he said.
“Next year will be a big year for our city,” Fuller said.
Fundraising for the Veterans Memorial project was kicked off with a $50,000 donation from the city, Fuller said. The Rotary donated $5,000 for the flag pool and has committed a team to put in an estimated $8,000 in plantings at the new park.
“We need $150,000 for the first phase,” Fuller said. “We are looking for donations.”
Individuals, families or businesses may choose to make a direct monetary contribution, or donate by purchasing dedication pavers in memory of a veteran. They also may donate by sponsoring a vet, purchasing a granite bench or paying for a tree.
Checks payable to City of Rogers, c/o Veterans Memorial, may be sent to 22350 South Diamond Lake Road, Rogers, MN 55374.
Wielding golden shovels at the Rogers Veterans Memorial groundbreaking Oct. 10 are, left to right, Brian Bush, John Seifert, Chuck Christian, Rick Ihli, Doug Vasseur and Dale Fuller. (Photo by Sue Webber)
A barometer for the fundraising campaign was unveiled last week. (Photo by Sue Webber)
A color guard carried flags to the groundbreaking site. At the far left, Scott Mounger played the National Anthem on his trumpet at the beginning of the ceremony. (Photo by Sue Webber)
A drawing of the Veterans Memorial park was posted for all to see. (Photo by Sue Webber)