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Honor courtyard going to bid again

SOLANA BEACH — By replacing a water feature with a water fountain, volunteers and city officials are hoping lower bids to build a courtyard that will honor U.S. service members will begin flowing in when the project goes out to bid for the second time.

Recognition for veterans was included in a $4 million improvement plan for La Colonia Park and Community Center, but that project is on hold indefinitely because of a lack of funding.

Council members approved plans for a memorial in 2012 after a community group asked if the project could move forward apart from the La Colonia renovation. The name was changed because it was not necessarily meant to be just a memorial.

Plans called for a stone veneer wall with military seals behind a reflecting pool with water “sheeting” 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.

“We had hoped the honor courtyard would be done by now,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said at the recent Memorial Day ceremony at La Colonia. “But the bids came in a little bit too high. Actually they were a lot bit too high.”

The only two bids submitted were for more than twice what was budgeted, primarily because of the elaborate water feature.

Both bids were rejected in January. Since then the community group, led by former Mayor Teré Renteria, has been working with city officials to reconfigure the plans without sacrificing the design.

“It’s just as beautiful and the experience will be just as nice,” Heebner said of the redesign. She said the project is expected to go out to bid again within a week or so. If all goes well, the groundbreaking could take place in August.

On the plus side, the delay is giving Renteria and her group a little more time to raise the $40,000 funding shortfall.

“We’re close, but we need to do better,” Renteria said.

The community group is selling personalized 1-foot square tiles for $300 each that will be installed in the courtyard to honor service members. So far 101 of the 330 tiles available have been sold. The city and county have also contributed money for the project.

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