Courtesy Las Vegas Veterans Memorial Association
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | 7:58 p.m.
Veterans memorial design tour schedule
Wednesday, June 23
Thursday, June 24 to Saturday, June 26
Monday, June 28 to Saturday, July 3
Tuesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 11
Tuesday, July 13 to Saturday, July 17
Wednesday, July 21
Four different visions of a future veterans memorial were presented to the public Wednesday, and in about a month, one will be chosen to be built at Huntridge Circle Park on Maryland Parkway near Charleston Boulevard.
The park, which has been closed since 2006, was once a popular hangout for the homeless, but Las Vegas officials hope the memorial will revive the area and bring more tourists to the city.
“It’s a park that needs to be used,” said City Councilman Gary Reese, who represents the area and has been involved in the plans for the memorial.
Before the artists presented their work, Mayor Oscar Goodman said, “This is a great day for Las Vegas.”
“This is really awesome in the sense that it is symbolic of what we stand for in Las Vegas,” he said.
The memorial is being built by the Las Vegas Veteran Memorial Association, a non-profit that plans to donate the memorial to the city once it is complete.
The association was established by Michael Millett, who served as an Army ranger and now owns the American Shooters gun range and firearms supply store.
Millett said Las Vegas has a large population of veterans and is one of the largest cities in the country without a veterans memorial.
“I know how fortunate I am to be an American,” he said. “We have a chance to make a stand and say thank you to those who have sacrificed and their families.”
The association received about 200 proposals from artists from around the country, officials said. Four finalists were invited to build models of their plans to present to the public.
A committee of representatives from the association, the city and veterans groups will select the winning design next month, Millett said.
But the funding and timeline for the project beyond that is in question.
The city is happy to support the memorial but isn’t ready to spend money on it, and private donations are hard to find right now. The design that is selected will determine how long construction will take and how much the project will cost.
The artists were asked to incorporate ways for people to financially support the memorial, such as buying bricks to dedicate to loved ones who served in the military.
Artist Douwe Blumberg presented a monument with a central scene of soldiers in a modern-day battle surrounded by veterans of other eras. Each of Blumberg’s statues are 125 percent life size.
Joan Benefiel proposed a sculpture of five intertwined figures that would each be 9 feet tall and illuminated by a central light that would gradually change color.
Cliff Garten’s design was primarily based on landscaping, with a 9-foot wall covered with quotations.
And Eugene Daub and Rob Firmin designed a monument that would include every known last name of Americans who have died in battle, toped with a bell tower with a giant eagle.
Models of the four designs will be on a touring display until they are presented to the council July 21. The public is invited to submit comments about the designs, which the association says it will take into account when the committee picks the winner.