SOLANA BEACH — Fundraising for a courtyard or garden to honor area veterans will appropriately begin during the annual Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at La Colonia Park and Community Center.
Approval for what was initially called a veterans memorial was granted about a year ago after a community group asked city officials if the project could move forward apart from the La Colonia renovation.
Some type of recognition for veterans was included in improvement plans for La Colonia, but the project is on hold indefinitely because of a lack of funding.
Money was slated to come from the city’s redevelopment agency, but Gov. Jerry Brown abolished those agencies about two years ago.
“The ability for us to break this out as one piece of that puzzle is great because that whole project was about $4 million,” Mayor Mike Nichols said. “We’re trying to implement as much as we can.”
Nichols said the name was changed because it’s not necessarily meant to be just a memorial.
“It’s going to honor veterans living and deceased,” he said, as well as those who are currently serving.
Led by former Mayor Teri Renteria, the volunteer citizens group met with city staff, council liaisons Nichols and Lesa Heebner and Van Dyke Landscape Architects four times in the past year to develop a preliminary design.
The existing Veterans Wall will remain in place. The new courtyard, to be built exactly where it is identified in the approved renovation master plans, will feature a stone veneer wall with military seals behind a reflecting pool. Water will “sheet” over the wall into the pool.
As proposed, there will also be a flagpole with a dedication plaque, a central medallion with an “In honor of those who served” statement, seating and a main entrance with decorative pilasters and an iron arch.
“It’s a design that we worked hard on the ad hoc to come up with,” Nichols said. “I am very happy with it.
“It’s a very elegant design and it creates a peaceful kind of courtyard/garden experience where one can sit and reflect,” he added.
So far the city spent $11,855 of capital improvement program funds for the preliminary design. The estimated cost for next phase, which will include final design plans, is $18,000. The estimated cost of construction is $161,000.
Funds will come from private donations and the sale of bricks and tiles. There are three proposed honoree levels: a precast medallion around the central medallion, laser engraved dark stone tiles set on the walls and laser engraved terra cotta floor tiles.
With ongoing wars, Councilman Dave Zito asked about adding names of future veterans.
“One can dream that we will not have any more wars,” he said.
Nichols said as proposed, there is room to expand but at some point it will cap out. At last count there are more than 125 Solana Beach residents who have served or are serving their country.
“It’s a great-looking design and a project that fits the site very well,” Councilman Peter Zahn said.
Preliminary plans will be on display during the Nov. 11 ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m.