By Sahar Chmais
The City of Kyle honored service members this Memorial Day by breaking ground for Heroes Memorial Park at Kohler’s Crossing.
Although the morning was off to a rainy start, the clouds cleared in time for hundreds of residents, service members, city and county representatives to gather at Kyle’s first memorial park. To kick off the new park, three Warbirds flew overhead as the crowd cheered and clapped. Smiles beamed across the assembly because of the momentous project and because many people were reconnecting for the first time in over a year, since COVID-19.
“[The park] means that the local community takes great pride in the veterans that have served, the ones we have lost, the ones we are celebrating today on memorial day,” said Terry Traylor, the Amvets Department Of Texas Commander and retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant. “Just having a veterans memorial means they have great respect for the men and women that have fought to keep America free.”
Many other veterans at the groundbreaking shared Traylor’s sentiment. Ben Duncan, a veteran, said the memorial is going to be a great part of the community, not just for the veterans, but for families and kids to witness the history.
Heroes Memorial Park has been a work-in-progress for years. The park project was brought forth by former Kyle Council Member and U.S. military veteran, David Wilson, but did not get approved. It was not until 2019 that the Kyle City Council revived the idea.
Work began on Monday, May 31, but it will take about one year to 15 months for the memorial to be complete, according to Kyle City Council Member Dex Ellison.
“It’s surreal; there are a lot of emotions that come to mind,” Ellison said. “To be at this memorial, one that we have put a lot of hard work in and past council members have done a lot of hard work as well, it just goes to show how much work it takes to even get to this point. We still have a lot of work to go as well but we’re excited to be here today to do the groundbreaking on such a special occasion.”
These projects do not happen overnight, but the hope and goal is when the project is finished, it will be something that makes everyone proud, Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said to the audience.
The five-acre park will have service members’ names, a quiet area for reflection, a picnic area, tree buffers, a cafe, an active area and a peace garden.
Not only will the park demonstrate the community values and remember the lost lives of heroes, it will also bring an economic advantage to the city, Mitchell said.
Heroes Memorial Park is located on FM 1626, Kohler’s Crossing, near an existing lake and next to the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center. It is also close to the Brick and Mortar District where there will be a lot of foot traffic.
Most importantly, this will be a way to thank and show appreciation to service members, Mitchell said.
“Thank you to our veterans, our fallen veterans, to our first responders for inspiring us every day for creating the freedom that allows us to build nice parks,” Mitchell said. “Without you, we don’t have anything.”