On a calm Saturday morning, surrounded by the sounds of gentle fountains and the fluttering of dragonfly wings, members of the Leander City Council and the Leander Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10427 and its auxiliary officially dedicated a 3.3-acre Veterans Park on Sonny Drive behind the Leander Public Library and the Mason Homestead to area veterans.
Mayor Troy Hill and Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Stephenson, who both have strong familial ties to the military, were in attendance.
“Today, we are here to honor all veterans in Operation: Iraqi Freedom (OIF),” began Mitch Fuller, senior vice commander of Leander VFW Post 10427 and a retired Army Captain involved in OIF. “This is a war that, for us, will never be forgotten. A war which has left permanent wounds both physically and emotionally on some of us.”
The park includes flags honoring military branches and a wall and trail for veterans, offering a place for veterans, their families and the public to come and reflect.
Construction began in 2014 and the site was dedicated as a requirement of residential development west of the park with design by Baker-Aicklen & Associates at an estimated total cost of $800,000. The park itself was paid for by private donations, according to city documents. “We will now have a place for our veterans groups to go and have events,” said Hill. “It’s a place for the city to thank veterans on holidays like Veterans Day. We can thank those people that have given so much for us. I think the honor we can show to people who have sacrificed so much is wonderful and our city is so proud of our soldiers.”
With the creation of its Veterans Park, Leander joins Cedar Park in honoring its fallen soldiers and providing a place for veterans and their families to seek tranquility.
Cedar Park’s Veterans Memorial Park is an 8,500 sq. ft. outdoor family aquatic facility that includes a large zero-depth (beach) area and playscape with a huge dump bucket for kids, two lanes to accommodate lap swimmers, a large dive platform and drop slide, a 5-acre dog park with a pond, showers, dog water fountains, a separate park for small dogs, Memorial Hill, an amphitheater (rentable), a group pavilion (rentable) and basketball and tennis courts. Veterans Memorial Park is located at 2525 New Hope Drive.
“I think it’s fantastic that we live in an area where we can dedicate these parks to veterans,” said Fuller. “This is a place that they can go to for solitude and to reflect. This is a big part of feeling at peace and healing from emotional war trauma. You can think about your service. We’re proud to live in a community that loves its veteran population.”
Leander Veterans Park is located at 1101 S. Bagdad Road, Leander.