Developer Dees provides boost for VFW park
HOLIDAY ISLAND -- The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #77 memorial park building project in The Park in Holiday Island got a boost recently when developer Tom Dees pledged to assist in getting it completed.
Dees donated two acres to the VFW in 2003 to build the memorial park.
In 2004, the U.S. Army donated a Huey helicopter, which was placed in the park.
The VFW has since attempted to raise funds to get the building project started, but the process has been slow.
Last month Dees hired Clancy Construction to begin the 1,440-square-foot pavilion picnic shelter. The structure will have heated bathrooms, a kitchen area and an open seating area.
The rest of the plans for the park include a memorial wall with flagpoles to commemorate veterans, a stage and 500-seat amphitheater for concerts and ceremonies, a playground and a parking lot. Future plans may include a veterans' lodge.
"I'm getting more directly involved to assist them," Dees said. "I think we need it. We need a place for kids to play, and a memorial for the kids to see their grandparents' names who served in WWII or Korea or Vietnam or the Gulf."
Dees said he had been studying how other VFW parks were constructed.
"I've been taking pictures of veterans' parks all over the country to get some ideas," he said. "Eventually we will do the amphitheater. Our plans have never changed, they were just temporarily delayed."
The pavilion will be finished this fall but won't be open for use until spring of next year.