Marines dedicate cottages

CAMP PENDLETON — The first five handicapped-friendly cottages available to active duty and retired military personnel were dedicated June 18 at San Onofre Beach on Camp Pendleton. 

Another two dozen units are expected to be put in place. Rental rates have not yet been set but officials hope to allow the first few tenants to use the oceanfront cottages at no charge.

The Pendleton Cottages Restoration Project is a community-based effort established to replace 24 existing cottages that served a recreational need for current and retired military personnel and their families. The new two-bedroom units were built with a focus on the special needs of wounded warriors.

The old “cottages” were 30-year-old trailers, mostly with only one bedroom, that were crumbling and without handicapped accessibility.

The San Diego Nice Guys Victory Fund acted as the not-for-profit fiscal agent for the project, with Hedges Construction as the sponsor, said Dino Richardson, general sales manager for Pendleton Marketing.

Each cottage costs approximately $90,000, including furnishings. They are built to last, using metal roofs, composite siding and railings and stainless steel appliances.

The units, which were constructed offsite, are pit set so entry ramps are not needed. They were decorated to be “timeless and beachy” and feature flat-screen TVs, handicapped-equipped bathrooms and kitchens and oceanview patios.

“These were built to accommodate our wounded warriors,” Richardson said.

At the southern end of the cottage area is a sitting area with a fire pit.

According to a project presentation, more than 48,000 military personnel have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan as of June 2012, making handicapped-friendly facilities more important than ever before.

For more information or to donate, visit pendletoncottages.org or contact Bob Clelland at (858) 587-8700 or bob@pendletoncottages.org.

Cottages can be dedicated with a plaque honoring the donor or the donor’s designee, such as an organization, company or family member who served in the military.

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