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June 1
1883 - Heirs of Henry Mayo Newhall incorporate The Newhall Land and Farming Co. [story]
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Proponent Bill Reynolds,
seen in a NatGeo documentary film.

The Santa Clarita Parks Commission will consider a proposal Thurday from a local Vietnam veteran who hopes to have the city install a monument honoring the SCV’s war dead at the Veterans Memorial Plaza in Newhall.

The following text is the staff report prepared for the commission. Photos are from the proponent, Bill Reynolds. The commission meets Thursday at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 23920 W. Valencia Blvd.

For lists and biographies of the Santa Clarita Valley’s war dead, visit [SantaClaritaWarMemorial.com].


Recommended Action

The Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission to review the proposal to install a new monument at the Veterans Historical Plaza and recommend denial of the proposal at this time.

Background/Alt Actions


Mr. Bill Reynolds addressed the City Council at the January 26, 2016 meeting, as a representative of the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial, Incorporated (SCVVM, Inc.).  Mr. Reynolds presented an idea for a memorial wall honoring military veterans of the Santa Clarita Valley to be placed at the Veterans Historical Plaza (Plaza).  As proposed, the memorial would consist of a granite wall approximately ten feet long by six feet high on an elevated granite platform.  The memorial wall would have the names of those killed in action beginning with World War I.  No specific location was proposed in Mr. Reynolds’ presentation to the City Council.

On February 25, 2016, Mayor Kellar and staff met with Mr. Reynolds who proposed a location for the memorial wall to be within the Plaza.  The location proposed by Mr. Reynolds would locate the memorial wall in place of a decorative urn planter in the center of the tree lined promenade and in line with the linear fountain features.  The monument proposal is attached hereto.

Reynolds' conceptual monument plan.

Reynolds’ conceptual monument plan.

By way of placing Mr. Reynolds’ request in the context of the Veterans Historical Plaza Master Plan, it is useful to review some history regarding the development of the Plaza.  In 2000, the same year the triangular shaped parcel was purchased by the City, the City Council initiated an effort to raise funds for the design and construction of the Plaza as a place to honor the military service of individuals who reside in or who have ties to the Santa Clarita Community.  In 2001, the City’s Parks Planning staff undertook an exhaustive public participation process that resulted in a conceptual plan and corresponding design guidelines for the Plaza.  A central theme that emerged from the process held that the Plaza should be a “serene place of reflection and remembrance” and that memorial elements should be of a scale that does not overwhelm the site.  The introduction of large walls or panels was discussed extensively during the process and the consensus was that they would detract from the principles contained in the design guidelines, and would interfere with site visibility and security.

The final design approved by the City Council in 2002, reflects the community’s consensus over the course of four public meetings.  The design includes a formal pedestrian axis with low lying water features, decorative planters, and benches with 12 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible story stations depicting United States Military history.  These stations are located along the edges of the promenade and are approximately 30 inches high.  Finally, the Commemorative Brick program at the Plaza was created to allow the public a way to honor veterans or other individuals through the purchase of bricks which are installed at the Plaza.  The founding members of the Plaza felt strongly that the brick program was a way to preserve the beauty and serenity of the Plaza by avoiding multiple monuments on the site that were not included in the original concept.  During the planning process of Veterans Historical Plaza, the founding members reached consensus regarding the rows of the brick walkway for the placement of engraved bricks for all veterans, with the innermost row reserved for the recognition of those killed or wounded in action.  Bricks in this row have a star engraved in the lower right corner.  To date, over 1,650 individual bricks have been placed along the edges of the elliptical walkway which encircles the lawn on the west end of the Plaza.

On February 22, 2011, the City Council adopted the Veterans Historical Plaza Special Use Facility Policy.  The intent of the Special Use Facility Policy is to outline the appropriate uses for the Plaza, provide a written set of procedures to allow for the consideration of modifications or improvements to the Plaza, and allow the City to handle the ordering and installation of commemorative bricks in the Plaza for the long-term.  SCVVM, Inc. supported both the draft policy and the City’s facilitation of the administrative tasks associated with the Commemorative Brick program.

Reynolds' conceptual monument plan.

Reynolds’ conceptual monument plan.

To date, the only memorial plaque honoring an individual at the Plaza is for Senator William J. “Pete” Knight, who was instrumental in the creation of the Plaza.  The plaque honoring Senator Knight was anticipated in the original design of the Plaza and approved by the City Council on August 23, 2011, in accordance with the Special Use Facility Policy.  A copy of the policy is attached hereto.

The City has been long supportive of the veterans community.  Since the opening of the Plaza, the City has approved several other commemorative features throughout the City.  The list includes the Rotary Garden at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge, a community memorial at the entrance of the Habitat for Heroes development and recently, the Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program.  This new program provides anyone in the Santa Clarita Valley the opportunity to have a street light pole banner installed in honor of a particular local active service member on a major street in each community of the City.

Additionally, at the January 22, 2013 City Council meeting, Mr. Reynolds made a request of the City Council to install a monument at the Plaza to recognize 14 residents of the Santa Clarita Valley who sacrificed their lives for our country in the Vietnam War.  In response to Mr. Reynolds’ request, Councilmember Kellar suggested the City place a brick at the Plaza for each of the individuals Mr. Reynolds identified as a way to honor their service and sacrifice.  The City moved forward with the installation of the bricks, with each brick containing a star, the name of the honoree, and year they were killed.  Thirteen of the bricks reference Vietnam and the fourteenth brick is for a veteran who was killed in action in Cambodia.  These bricks were paid for by the City and were placed in the inner ring of bricks.



The Veterans Plaza Special Use Facility Policy identifies the procedure for the review of proposed improvements to the site.  SCVVM, Inc. and the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission are part of that review process.  Proposals which receive support are then forwarded to the City Council for review and determination.  Should the Commission decide to consider the current proposal by Mr. Reynolds, it would be necessary to contact the donors of the affected Plaza features including the Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) and individuals that have been active in the community.

These features were funded by individuals, businesses, and agencies.  The proposal would require removal of one of the decorative flower urns which was purchased by local businessmen.  In addition, R.J. Kelly, a CLWA Board Member, indicated his opposition to the proposal at the January 26, 2016 City Council meeting.



Honoring veterans with ties to the Santa Clarita Valley remains the primary objective for the Veterans Historical Plaza.  Recognition of individuals who served our country is currently obtained through the Commemorative Brick program.  The memorial wall concept as proposed would be inconsistent with the original design intent of the Plaza.  Staff recommends that the monument proposal be denied at this time.  Alternatively, the Commission can recommend that SCVVM, Inc. explore finding another location for the referenced monument and/or present a modified proposal at a future meeting.

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  1. George Mcguinness says:

    You have the wrong monument in the photo. It is an earlier design. The current monument would fit perfectly and honor the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve this monument with more than just a brick in the ground. Let the current administration and public decide what is appropriate and not a policy that is almost 17 years old.

  2. George Mcguinness says:

    After I had sent in my first comment, the article was updated with the proper monument design. Thank you for correcting it. I think the monument speaks for itself in its elegance and the designer made sure that it would fit the plaza appropriately.

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