Published July 21, 2015
Volume 23, Number 7

Pleasanton Veterans Memorial Planned for Pioneer


Pleasanton Veterans Memorial

By Jay Hipps

Thanks to a combined effort from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, nonaffiliated local veterans, the local community, and the City of Pleasanton, a special memorial to the area’s veterans is being planned for construction in Pioneer Cemetery.
“The veterans community, primarily the VFW and American Legion, have talked for some time about the desire for a memorial in town,” says Doug Miller, a member of the Pleasanton Veterans Memorial Committee. “This memorial will be there to show appreciation for the more than 500 veterans buried in Pioneer Cemetery from Pleasanton and the surrounding community.”
The cemetery, on over 5 acres at 5780 Sunol Boulevard, was founded in 1850 as Pleasanton Memorial Gardens. The oldest headstone which can be read today is dated 1862, and a number of the city’s historical figures are buried there, including Pleasanton founders John Kottinger and Joshua Neal. The institution’s age is also borne out by the fact that a Civil War veteran is believed to have been interred on the site as well.
The City of Pleasanton purchased the cemetery in 2007 — it had been run by the local Odd Fellows lodge for most of its history — and, when the City Council approved the Pioneer Cemetery Master Plan in November 2014, it included a designated site for the veterans memorial.
The following month saw the creation of the Pleasanton Veterans Memorial Committee, and its three working groups — design and construction, marketing, and fundraising — have been working diligently on the project ever since. The City’s staff has been hard at work as well, conducting soil tests and an underground survey on the site, with an expected completion date in September. The Civic Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission will review the project in August and September, respectively. If everything moves forward on schedule, the plans for the memorial will be presented to City Council on October 6.
Once approval is granted, the Pleasanton Veterans Memorial Committee will swing into action on a number of issues.
“We have already developed marketing materials, including a video which highlights Pleasanton veterans and how the memorial would look in the cemetery,” says Miller. “On the fundraising side, we will be working to get the word out in a broad way so that everyone will be able to participate. We’d like our donors to represent a broad cross-section of the community, both private and corporate.”
While the City of Pleasanton will prepare the site as well as providing a base pad and the necessary infrastructure, Miller estimates that it will be necessary to raise between $100,000 and $150,000 to complete the project. “Once they get the engineering designs done, we’ll have a more detailed estimate of our share of the costs.”
The committee has already lined up two large donors. “The Harringtons, Gary and Nancy, have provided art donations in the city for a number of years now, including the art in front of Veterans Hall on Main Street,” Miller says. They have offered up to $40,000 in matching funds, and another private donor has committed a similar amount.”
The committee hopes to be able to complete the construction in time for a dedication to take place on Memorial Day, 2017.
For additional information on the Pleasanton Veterans Memorial project, contact Doug Miller at dougmiller94566@gmail.com.


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