May 08 2023
Travis Barton | The City Journals
Veterans Memorial Park will have a new addition.
Sponsored by Councilmembers Kelvin Green and Kayleen Whitelock, the council approved a Gold Star Memorial be placed next to the existing memorial at the city’s signature park.
“It honors the families of the soldiers and sailors and airmen that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the nation,” Green told the council when presenting the topic during a March meeting.
Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments are a two-sided tribute made of black granite. One side bears the words: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a loved one for freedom. On the other side of the monument, there are scenes etched on each of the four panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice. At the center of this tribute is a silhouette of a saluting service member which represents the Legacy of the Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
South Jordan was the third city in the state to install one last September and Draper just recently approved its own planned installation.
The idea, according to Green, is to pay $60,000 initially before announcing a fundraising drive for residents to donate, offsetting the costs.
Currently city officials are working on a Veterans Memorial Park Master Plan, organizing the future of the park. The sponsors pushed to have the budget opened for the $60K so the work could begin and not wait for the master plan to be finished.
“If we wait for the veterans park master plan and try to integrate this, we won’t be sixth in line to have this into the city, we will be 35th or 40th because the master plan isn’t anywhere close to being done,” Green said. “I’d like to see this in sooner than later.”
Whitelock and Green envisioned the memorial as an additional amenity placed next to the current plaza at the park, rather than folding it into current planning.
City staff highlighted other requests made by council for renovations and projects to be completed for the park and wanted to confirm this was a top priority for the council.
All councilmembers were in favor of the memorial, but some did highlight there were other modifications the current memorial needed such as image replacements, lighting issues and additional flag poles.
“I personally would like to see what we can do to bring the dignity back to that memorial,” Councilmember Chris McConnehey said. “And I think there’s gonna be some renovation along with that. I would like to see the permanent incorporation of a Gold Star Memorial.”
Green urged formalizing the approval as quickly as possible to start the process that includes getting the graphics, working with the memorial foundation and any customization.
The council chose to utilize the council contingency—where money already allocated to the council can be used as the council deems appropriate—to start the process rather than wait for staff to bring the budget opening back for a council vote before beginning the work.
Councilmember Zach Jacob encouraged having bricks with names engraved of families who lost loved ones, while Green visualized the memorial being added just east of the plaza so in the morning the “sun shines through the soldier” who is facing east.
No set timetable was given for when the monument could be finished.