MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- Yuma’s Armed Forces Memorial Park second phase construction completion was recognized in a ceremony May 2.
Construction on the park began in 2000 at the site of the old railroad depot on Gila Street.
The second phase of the project included the completion of the amphitheater, concrete bleachers and flag poles, said Rosevear. It took approximately six months to complete.
Phase three will involve another set of walls for plaques that will run along the front of the park. Phases four and five will add a 40-foot flag pole, lighting, benches, and landscaping.
The property for the park was donated by the City of Yuma and the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.
The park honors active, former or retired service members from all branches in the U.S. military, said Ken Rosevear, executive director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. This is the only park of its type in Arizona.
Sales of memorial plaques, made of solid granite and individually engraved with the name, rank, date of service and service emblem are mounted on the walls around the park and are used to fund park construction and maintenance.
Any current or former U.S. service member can purchase a memorial plaque.
The park has three more phases before it is finished and there should be space for approximately 3,200 plaques total.
The project’s second phase was headed up by Michael J. Jones, general contractor of Cross Country Construction, and a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and his wife, Margaret Jones. Volunteers, local contractors and material companies donated their time and skills. Monetary donations from community members, vendors, businesses, and private donations have also contributed to the funding of the park.
Members from the MOPH volunteered and Marines from Marine Attack Squadron-214 volunteered about 2,400 hours of their time, said Jones.
The MOPH members enjoyed working with the Marines, Jones said. The nicest experience was being able to work with another generation.
“The Marines were unbelievably respectful of their veteran elders,” said Jones. “It was a real bonding experience for all of us.”
Some of the work that was done by the MOPH members and the Marines included leveling and pounding the ground, digging turn downs for footing, and cutting and forming rebar to lay concrete, said Cpl. Michael D. Lee, aviation electronic technician, VMA-214.
“It felt great to do something for the community,” said Lee. “Working along side the veterans was awesome.”
The third phase of the project will begin in the fall, said Jones.
“The community has really stepped up to help,” said Rosevear. “Everyone has done a lot of hard work. The chamber is proud of the support it’s received from the community and volunteers.”
For more information about volunteering, please contact Art Nottingham, office manager of the Arizona Veterans Services in Yuma, at 928-726-2851.