Santa Monica will finally have a memorial dedicated to the residents who fought in wars on behalf of the United States since the City’s incorporation.
Particularly described as a “Peace Memorial” by Council member Kevin McKeown, the commemorative wall will be erected at Woodlawn Cemetery, Mortuary, and Mausoleum. The council unanimously approved the memorial Feb. 12.
The memorial will be located in front of the mausoleum entrance and is expected to cost between $7,500 and $15,000. City Hall plans to conduct a fund raising campaign in order to fund the memorial’s construction.
According to research conducted by City Hall, at least 97 Santa Monica residents fought and died in war since incorporation.
Design options of the peace memorial will be officially unveiled at the annual Memorial Day remembrance at Woodlawn Cemetery. This year’s event, scheduled for March 27, marks the 75th anniversary of the remembrance. City staff said the symbolic event “provides the occasion to launch an effort for such a memorial on the cemetery grounds” and would “garner support for the project.”
The memorial’s design would be “a respectful and elegant wall,” according to City staff.
“It was suggested that the commemoration could be a simple wall or a plaque that included these initial 97 names with room for additional names that might be identified through additional research,” City staff added.
City staff pointed out the budget for the current fiscal year did not include a line item to fund this project. Even more, the budgets through 2015 would not be able to accommodate financing for this project.
“The Cemetery fund has significantly reduced its reliance on the General Fund this year, but it is still anticipating the need for some General Fund subsidy,” City staff stated. “The funds for this project would be collected through a fundraising campaign.”
As recommended by City staff, the peace memorial would be located at “the small lawn area directly adjacent to the primary entrance to the Mausoleum facing Pico Boulevard … west of the front door of the Mausoleum building and is located at the end of the southernmost entrance.”
“This area would be appropriate for a small scale commemoration situated on a wall enhancing the decorative nature of the building and the existing stained-glass window providing additional presence,” City staff stated. “Placement of a commemoration wall here would decrease the size of the area and decrease the number of available plots to be sold depending on the final design. The commemoration wall would increase the value of the area, which is expected to offset the financial impact of having fewer plots to sell.”
City staff recommended this space for the memorial due to high visibility and easy accessibility by the public.
Looking ahead, City staff is expected to develop design concepts and refine cost estimates. Veteran groups will be invited to provide input and garner support for the project. The project should return to council with design concepts and financial estimates prior to May 27.
In a letter to council members, Jack Walter committed $1,000 to the fundraising campaign and requested City Hall match that amount. According to City staff, an anonymous donor reportedly committed another $1,000.
Mayor Pam O’Connor and Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day were both absent from the memorial’s discussion and vote; Council member Gleam Davis served as chair.