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Shafter's Veteran Memorial Park sparks debate

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 22:19:20-04

SHAFTER,Calif. — The Veterans Memorial plaque, at the Veterans Memorial Park, has been a topic of discussion in the Shafter community. There is a current debate on whether city officials names should or should not be attached to the memorial.

Scott Hurlbert, city manager of Shafter says that it was long overdue for the Veterans Memorial Park to have an official memorial site.

“We think any recognition to veterans is appreciated especially since we have so many in town,” said Hurlbert.

He says it was made possible through a communal effort.

“Because of various reasons that part of the project didn’t move forward till late last year when a community group stepped forward,” said Hurlbert. “It consisted of the AMVET, local Shafter Rotary club and the City staff ,got the project moving.”

Soon thereafter the $25,000 budgeted corner memorial came to be. Portions were donated by various community organizations whose plaques lay at the memorial.

“Once the park was completed there was a proposal to add a plaque with councils members name and titles,” Hurlbert said. “It was initially approved then there were some questions from the public.”

Some of those concerns were voiced by the American Vets or AMvets.

“Members of the contracting group, rotary club and myself all decided beforehand that we were not putting any individual's names out there,” said Michael Miller, First Vice of AMVETS in Shafter. “Because if we miss somebody then they would feel left out and new veterans are coming in all the time.”

The city says once they heard the community’s concern at their last meeting on the 16th , they since have been discussing a resolution.

“We were upset because its focusing on them and none of them are even vets,” said Miller. “A lot of us don’t mind if they were to put a ‘dedicated by city council and the year', but when they start listing names on a veterans park that’s when we disagree.”

On August 6th during the next city council meeting, council members will reconsider to add the plaque with council members names or not.

“Council has agreed to rehear the item and reconsider to add the council plaque,” Hurlbert said.

Miller says he hopes this is all a misunderstanding and that veterans continue to enjoy their memorial.

“This park is for the veterans and we hope that they come out and enjoy the surroundings,” Miller said.