Veterans Plaza on track for Memorial Day dedication in Edmonds

By Brian Soergel | May 11, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Kal Brar of K-A General Construction: “It’s such an honor to be able to do something for people who have done so much for our country.”

Kal Brar of K-A General Construction has worked on numerous projects in Edmonds, including the recent Frances Anderson Center bandshell and Dayton Street Plaza.

But there’s something special about the current one: the Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

“It’s such an honor to be able to do something for people who have done so much for our country, to give back,” he said this week from the site. “There’s so much community involvement in this project. It’s not about the work, always. It’s about being involved in the community.”

Brar said many stroll by and comment on the plaza’s progress.

And despite some unexpected costs, the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Edmonds Veterans Plaza is set for 2 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 29. Brar said he’ll be there.

The Plaza is located on the grounds of the Edmonds Public Safety Complex at Fifth Avenue North and Bell Street. It is a joint project of the Edmonds posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion and the city of Edmonds.

A large committee of local business and civic leaders has been working to create this lasting tribute for more than two years.

Council President Thomas Mesaros and Councilmember Neil Tibbott are members of the Veterans Plaza Committee.

“This plaza is meant to honor all veterans – past, present and future,” said project chairman Ron Clyborne, a Vietnam Marine Corps veteran.

The hour-long dedication program will have a keynote speech by retired Lt. Gen. Robert P. Otto, former Air Force deputy chief of staff.

Other speakers scheduled are state Rep. Strom Peterson of Edmonds, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and noted “Fallen Heroes” veteran artist Michael Reagan.

Community members are encouraged to attend and to be among the first to visit the plaza.

“This facility is first class in every way,” Clyborne said. “Every local citizen can be justifiably proud of the beauty and scope of it – the wall, the water features and the memorial garden.”

Roughly 82 percent of the funding has come from local private contributions, Clyborne said. The bid award in December 2016 included a discrepancy of about $60,000, but the committee raised all funds for construction and contingency.

K-A Construction is the contractor, and the Public Works Engineering Division is managing the project.

Since the project began, several issues in the plaza related to the city’s infrastructure have been encountered, such as the electrical conduit and the bench footings, Parks and Recreation Director Carrie Hite said.

She explained the original electrical conduit was only buried 6-8 inches deep; the code requires it to be 18 inches.

Hite also said that the 11 benches in the plaza were designed with footings, but when laid out, there was a tripping hazard. To solve that, the contractor poured slabs, similar to the standard bench design in the city’s parks.

Because of these setbacks, Hite requested councilmembers approve $71,000 to complete the plaza, which they approved.

An informational kiosk is also planned for the site, which the committee has written a grant for. An anonymous donor contributed money for a drinking fountain.

@A place for reflection@

At a recent City Council meeting, Reagan said the plaza will allow veterans to visit with their veteran friends and talk about things they have not talked about before, regardless of how long they have been home.

“Veterans like me who walk around the community will sit in the plaza and talk to their friends who were not fortunate enough to come home, telling them we will never forget,” he said. “The Veterans Plaza provides an opportunity to remember the fallen and those who served.”

Clyborne, who spoke after Reagan, said the plaza should be considered a park.

“Veterans and their families will come and be healed but, in addition, there will be joy and enjoyment,” he said.

He said he could envision people going to the Saturday farmers market and eating their food on the new benches.

Clyborne said that, after a recent visit, both he and his wife choked up with joy, not sadness, about what the site will bring to the city.

 

 

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