Leader of veterans monument campaign proposes tweak

Santa Clarita’s City Council approved installing a granite monument which will honor 50 SCV residents who perished in wars from WWII to present.

The local Vietnam vet who led the drive to erect a fallen warriors monument in Newhall wants to tweak the already approved project – and hopes the City Council will consider his plan and kick in at least some of the added costs, estimated at $15,000.

Bill Reynolds of Valencia, president of Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Inc. — and also The Signal’s director of veterans affairs – presented his proposed change to the council Tuesday night, saying it addressed the concerns of “a few people” that the approved design “would not complement existing design criteria” at Veterans Memorial Plaza.

He said those lingering concerns, “really bugged me.”

The monument, approved 5-0 by the council on Aug. 23, would consist of a black granite slab atop a gray granite base, 87 inches wide at the bottom.

It will carry the logos of all the service branches as well as the names of fallen Santa Clarita-area heroes, dating back to World War I. The names of those local vets from “The Great War” are still being researched, in conjunction with Rep. Steve Knight’s office, Reynolds said.

The monument is to be erected adjacent to an already existing garden-style archway, or “pergola,” along a circular path near Newhall Avenue and Market Street.

As approved, the monument would be off to the side of the pergola, by itself. Reynolds’ tweak would extend a section of the pergola to cover the monument – a move he said would help blend the project into the area’s big picture.

His suggested update, he said, grew out of a handful of complaints he had heard during the planning process that the monument might not fully complement its surroundings.

“This would bring it all together,” Reynolds said.

Tuesday, he presented an updated rendering with cost estimates to the council for consideration on a future agenda.

The added section of pergola, he said, would cost about $15,000 for materials, with the labor already pledged to be donated.

If the council does approve and fund Reynolds’ tweaks, it would be the first city money dispatched to the project. The $50,000 cost of the approved monument was fully covered by donations to SCV Veterans Memorial Inc.

Council member Marsha McLean told The Signal on Wednesday that the body came to a consensus Tuesday to examine the new proposal in the future.

As to what would precede the proposal getting on the council’s agenda, McLean said, “(Reynolds’) concept would go to our planning staff — they would probably take a look at what’s there and present a concept to us as to what this would look like. Then it would be discussed at a future meeting.’’

McLean also said: “I want to go out there and take a look at where it will be placed. … I’m concerned if we’d have to take down some trees.’’

Reynolds told The Signal that two trees might have to be removed, but that he was told by a city staffer, “Those trees are stunting the growth of adjacent trees.’’

Council member Laurene Weste, meanwhile, said the new addition could bring up another issue.

“You now have structural issues,’’ she said. “But we’ll bring it back up for discussion … and see if it can be accommodated.’’

Weste also said she doesn’t want to rush up a monument that doesn’t honor all the fallen.

“We want to make sure every name is on there, including the boys from World War I, and make sure every name is spelled correctly,’’ Weste said.

Reynolds was hoping the project could be unveiled on Memorial Day but now says the date is to be determined.

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