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’Honor Walk’ construction begins

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com
The Star

First phase includes concrete, flag, and monument work

After shouldering the wheel for several years, the citizens committee behind an “Honor Walk” at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill can now see the effort coming to fruition.

North Florida Construction got underway this week with the concrete that will provide the base, and just the initial phase, to this tribute to veterans.

“We, as the county commission’s designated committee, have worked diligently to bring about a grand veterans memorial venue to this park,” said George Duren, a member of the committee.

“After three years of fundraising, researching and planning, we are finally about to see the fruits of our labor. We as a committee are very excited to have reached this stage of building a memorial for veterans.”

The concrete work, costing $122,199, will provide the foundation for the Honor Walk.

Included will be concrete pads for the flag poles, an American flag will fly on a 70-foot pole while the flags of the military branches will be displayed, on 50-foot poles.

The concrete work will also provide the foundation for the 5-foot wide sidewalk around the Honor Walk, the rotunda, entrance and central pentagon as well as pads for benches.

“I would think you’ll see flags flying pretty soon,” said Don Butler, another member of the citizens committee appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to shepherd the project.

Duren said the concrete work, including sidewalks and monument foundations should be completed by Memorial Day.

The “Honor Walk” will fill an 80-foot-by-140-foot area along the bluff at Veterans Memorial Park, which offers some of the most picturesque views of the ocean in the county.

The BOCC broke ground on the project in May 2018.

At each point of the monument’s central pentagon anchored by the American flag, the 8-foot-by-3-foot monuments for each branch of the military will stand, each inscribed with the Gulf County veterans who “paid the ultimate sacrifice,” in battle.

Last month, in addition to approving the contract with North Florida, the BOCC, which has pledged $100,000 to the project, also approved the purchase of the individual branch monuments.

The monuments for the individual branches of the military, granite on a black polished rock base, will cost just under $50,000.

The “Honor Walk” will also include seating behind the flags and several areas for quiet reflection and brick and concrete walkways will thread through the memorial.

The entire area would be surrounded by a 4-foot high fence with pillars spaced along the length of the fence.

Walkways will extend 20 feet from the center of a monument in opposite directions.

In the central pentagon will fly the American flag, flying 15 feet higher than the flag in the Port City Shopping Center.

The other five poles will display the flags of the military branches, Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

The flags are already in hand, having been purchased with tourist bed tax dollars,

“This will be a memorial that will bring visible honor to all veterans and especially those from Gulf County who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Duren said.

The memorial brick pavers, part of the fundraising, will be laid at a later date, Butler said, as fundraising continues.

And, indeed as the concrete is poured more assistance is needed as the committee continues its fundraising efforts.

“Although construction has begun on the project, we have yet to fully fund it and are still in need of patrons who would choose to commit to some level of sponsorship.

“We would invite anyone who is interested in helping up bring this project to completion visit our website.

To learn more about fundraising efforts or to donate go to: http://www.VeteransParkHonorWalk.org.