VMP Venue Enhancements and Infrastructure Improvements
Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, Inc.
The mission of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, Inc. is to collaborate with the City of Pensacola and work as Advocate, Provider, Steward and Protector for the Veterans Memorial Park (Park). The Park began with a vision of local veterans more than 20 years ago, who wanted to construct a Vietnam Memorial in our area similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. After several years of fundraising and securing an area for a memorial park adjacent to Admiral Mason Park, the current “Wall South” was constructed and recently celebrated its 20th year. The Park has expanded to include other Memorials: World War II, Marine Aviation Bell Tower Memorial, Purple Heart, Submarine Memorial, Korean War and most recently Revolutionary War Memorial. Three years ago, the current Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, Inc. was established, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the City of Pensacola for the purpose of “developing a vision and theme” for the Park as well as its maintenance and operation.
The stormwater infrastructure in the park is inadequate, and the Park lacks a stage and reliable seating area to accommodate larger public events. Normal rain events saturate the grass lawn, making it unusable for days. Heavier rains have submerged portions of the Wall itself causing repeated damage to landscaping, utilities, and electrical fixtures. Grant funds will be used to improve the stormwater infrastructure through the purchase and installation of a pump and grinder system. Additionally, this project will add a low profile grass stage at the center of the Memorial Wall to accommodate public events without detracting from the significance of the Wall’s appearance. This project will provide a reliable defined space to host annual public events and address stormwater drainage issues. The designed stage, associated ramp, and a small public seating area are invisible when not in use, and surfaced with an ADA compliant pervious grass paver system to accommodate all event attendees.
These infrastructure improvements are needed not only to improve ongoing maintenance and preservation efforts, but also to provide an enhanced venue to educate the community through events at the Park and to provide a reliable and accessible venue to hold the sacrifice of those memorialized there as worthy of their gratitude, respect and emulation. This project will enhance the ability of the Park to support the community as intended by providing a more capable and reliable facility for public events. A more capable facility will enable the Park to attract increasing numbers to events. From the large Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies that draw many hundreds of citizens from the greater Pensacola area and beyond, to the smaller memorial, reunion, retirement, and presentation ceremonies and additional civic, youth, charitable and educational events that occur at the Park, all will be enhanced by these improvements. Schools, scouts and other community organizations also use the Park for field trips and other educational events consistent with the Park’s mission, and these improvements will greatly improve their ability to use the Park for these purposes. The project will also enhance the ability to maintain the Park by correcting infrastructure problems that add to maintenance and repair costs These facility enhancements will improve the ability to conduct these and other events at the Park, and our veterans will notice and appreciate our community’s attention and commitment to its “jewel on the bay.” The impact will be both immediate and far reaching to the community as a whole.