“We got the right of entry permit that gives us access to the project on park and rec land,” said OBCDC president Tom Perrotti, of progress in redoing the veterans memorial, plans for which include relocating it to the end of the green space near the OB lifeguard tower. “The old (memorial) design was just no longer tenable. So we took this project on four or five years ago.”
Created in 1993, the OBCDC is a nonprofit benefiting Ocean Beach by developing resources for revitalizing the infrastructure of the community applying the OB “spirit.”
OB Veterans Plaza at the corner of Newport Avenue and Abbot Street was constructed in 1997 as a memorial to honor all military veterans. Due to salt-air and foot-traffic erosion, the existing plaza is currently in disrepair with many of the inscriptions now illegible.
Dave Martin, OBCDC treasurer, said the fundraising drive will be aided by “creating a video presentation to help us as we put together several fundraising events. I am working on plans to have our first fundraising event in Ocean Beach by the end of March.”
Martin admitted the fundraising goal is ambitious.
“Our estimated cost for completion of the project is $1 million,” he said.
The vision for the new Ocean Beach Veterans Plaza is for it to have an “artistic/beachy” design. Plans call for an artificial rock wall mimicking Sunset Cliffs’ stratified geology with 1,500 veterans’ names etched into it in a series of granite slabs. Adjacent to the new memorial wall would be inlaid stars representing lives lost in battle. Other artistic flourishes are to include low-lying artistic-themed meandering walls.
Perrotti said fundraising on the memorial project is commencing now that construction drawings are nearly completed. He said the original 84 names from the old plaza will be transferred to the new one once it's done.
Perrotti added there's a long way to go with fundraising.
“Right now we're about $100,000 into this $1 million project,” he said noting KTUA architects, who did the original design, have handed that task over to Vicki Estrada of Estrada Land Planning.
“Because of its (oceanfront) location, the Coastal Commission had input and they didn't like that the memorial could potentially block significant views toward the pier, so we had to bring the wall back from the beach, and from the street as well,” Estrada said noting the project's been “shrunk” from four walls down to three.
“The whole key to this is making it look like the cliffs at Sunset Cliffs, otherwise it will look hokey and corny,” Estrada said. “We want to honor Sunset Cliffs in OB: That's a major concept.”
Estrada said “different paving colors” are still planned from the vets plaza to the boardwalk. She added the project also includes rock outcroppings on the south side of the walkway that people will be able to sit on.
Estrada noted project construction drawings are now “about 95 percent complete.”
Once drawings are done, “OBCDC will put the project out to bid to a private contractor,” Estrada said.
Perrotti discussed the project's timeline.
“From the time I sign the construction documents, we have three years, following the Request For Proposals, to actually get it (memorial) built,” he said. “So my forecast is, the fundraising campaign will be done by next summer, and we would build it in 2018. Hopefully, we could come to an end by early 2019.”
Meanwhile, OBCDC continues to take names for veterans to inscribe on its new updated memorial.
There is a $250 maintenance donation that will be taken for each new-name inscription application, which will be applied solely to future upkeep, the OBCDC said.
For more information about the OBCDC or its new OB veterans memorial, or to donate to the project, visit www.obcdc.org.