Rededication of Sunnyside’s veterans plaza could be on hold

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Greg Schlieve, a Vietnam veteran, an American Legion member and the man behind the Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza upgrades, says the project is now ready to enter its second phase. “We are now looking for the $200,000 needed to install the 18 granite walls needed to complete the project,” he told Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary members Wednesday morning.

A rededication of Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza in downtown Sunnyside planned for Dec. 7, now hinges on the arrival of two giant black granite walls.

The memorial project rededication is being organized by the Sunnyside American Legion Post.

Memorial project leader Greg Schlieve said the brick pathways and the concrete foundations for the granite walls are all in place.

But due to the Thanksgiving holiday, coordination of schedules for the installation of the two new walls that will be erected at the plaza may be delayed, said Schlieve, the man behind the work being done on the memorial, which he hopes will one day be the crown jewel of the Sunnyside community.

Schlieve said the installation of the two walls is dependent upon the availability of a crane.

He said the first of the black granite walls will be engraved with the names of Sunnyside individuals killed in action during wars fought by the American military. The names of all veterans, whose families purchase brass plaques, will be displayed on white granite walls.

Speaking at the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club’s Wednesday morning meeting, Schlieve, who has been working on the plaza memorial since 2006, said he is now ready to launch the second phase of project. The next phase, which is expected to cost roughly $200,000, is the installation of 18 granite walls.

During the past summer, Schlieve and his volunteers have leveled the site, poured concrete curbs and laid several tons of bricks for the foundation of the eight-foot tall black granite walls.

Schlieve asked the Rotarians to reach out to potential financial backers they may know who might be willing to help support the final phase of this project honoring the community’s veterans.

“People I’ve worked with on the design of this memorial in Seattle have told me this can’t be done in Sunnyside,” Schlieve said.

“I don’t know where the money will come from, but I’m confident it will come,” he said.

In the meantime, looking forward to the installation of the first of the series of granite walls, Schlieve is nervous about their timely arrival in Sunnyside.

“If the walls can’t be installed in time, the Pearl Harbor Day ceremony will have to be rescheduled,” he added.

If the rededication of the plaza goes forward on Sunday, Dec. 7, it will be held at 11 a.m., with Sen. Jim Honeyford as keynote speaker, Schlieve said.



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