Planners of the Verde Valley Military Service Park are ready to break ground Wednesday, July 22, at 2 p.m. The groundbreaking will be held at Garrison Park, 100 Brian Mickelsen Parkway in Cottonwood.
Committee member Larry Stover has been working on a sign that will provide information about the park and will be installed during the ceremony. The Verde Valley Military Service Park will honor military veterans of the United States of America who live in the Verde Valley now or in the past or any military veteran having Verde Valley connections.
The first step of the Verde Valley Military Service Park is the installation of a 65-foot tall flag pole flying the American flag. The next steps are to place Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force flags in the areas that will be developed for each branch of the military. All phases will be built on a pay-as-you-go basis and the committee is actively seeking donations.
Phase two of the park will be the military areas. Honorably discharged veterans or those currently serving in the military and live-in or have Verde Valley connections are eligible to have their names inscribed. The fee for inscription is $75. There will be an endowment fund for veterans that want to be included but do not have the funds. Keith Vogler of the Marine Corps League, who is leading the effort, said, "The planning committee wants to make sure that anyone who wants to be recognized will have the opportunity."
In kind donations totaling at least $30,000 have been made by construction engineer Luke Sefton of Sefton Engineering Consultants, Heritage Land Survey, architect Jonathan Schoch of Caddworx Studio and project manager Keith Newton of High Performance Buildings. The Cottonwood City Council voted to donate the land.
The committee is made up of volunteers from the Verde Valley Detachment of the Marine Corps League 1176, VFW Post 7400, American Legion Posts 25, 93, and 135 and the City of Cottonwood. Other members include Dave Blauert of Sedona who was instrumental in the creation of military service parks in Durango, Colorado and Sedona. City of Cottonwood's Community Services General Manager Richard Faust has also been a great support for the project. Other citizens from throughout the Verde Valley are also actively working on the project.
Vogler plans to visit city and town councils in Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Jerome and Sedona to seek participation in the Verde Valley Military Service Park.
"This park is for everyone in the Verde Valley," Vogler said. "We want to be all inclusive." He has worked with Yavapai County Supervisors Chip Davis and Thomas Thurman because the park, although on city land, is right next to the Yavapai County Cottonwood Annex.
For more information contact Keith Vogler at (928)301-7358. The website address is www.verdevalleymilitaryservicepark.com and the Facebook address is https://www.facebook.com/VerdeValleyMilitaryServicePark. Checks may be made to the Verde Valley Military Service Park and mailed c/o Marine Corps League #1176, P.O. Box 2286, Cottonwood, AZ 86326-2286.