KING CITY — The Avenue of Honor, a memorial to South Monterey County veterans killed in action in conflicts spanning World War I to Afghanistan, has been moved and is in the process of being finished, with a rededication ceremony now planned for next year.
The Avenue was first installed along the long entry driveway to San Lorenzo Park in King City, but the plaques recognizing each veteran deteriorated since their 2011 installation and were sometimes hidden by shrubs.
King City Young Farmers worked with Monterey County to move the Avenue into a corner of the park and will instead use granite plaques. The Avenue’s new location will be close to the park’s front parking lot in a corner near the walking trail and picnic areas.
A central island featuring the service branch flags, a battle cross and the names of eight deceased from World War I will be flanked by stone memorial pieces, benches and plaques along a 10-foot trail lined with concrete. A total of 56 plates will be installed to honor area veterans who died in wartime.
“The King City Young Farmers felt that if their name was on it, they wanted to have it done well and they wanted to be able to present something that was nice,” said Robert Eddington, a member of Young Farmers. “The King City Young Farmers felt the original placement of the Avenue of Honor wasn’t in an area that it was truly appreciated,” he added. “People drove by it, but they didn’t know what it was.”
Multiple sites around San Lorenzo Park were evaluated for possible relocation, including the gazebo area near the flagpole and different spots by the eucalyptus trees.
Eddington credited the original project as being driven by Young Farmers member Mike Meyer, who has since moved away. He said the ongoing project to relocate the Avenue took the efforts of Heath Latasa, Mark Phillips and himself in cooperation with the county, specifically District 3 County Supervisor Chris Lopez.
The Avenue is nearly finished, but a planned rededication ceremony this Veterans Day, Nov. 11, was postponed until next year due to state and county restrictions related to the coronavirus.
The project cost started at $12,000 with an at-cost estimate on the dedication plates, but it quickly became a $50,000 endeavor as the features began to take shape. Eddington said the Young Farmers have raised an estimated $35,000 and are seeking sponsors to help finish paying for the project.
The process has taken more than three years to finish.
“The Young Farmers entered into a contractual agreement with Monterey County Parks to maintain and upkeep this area,” Eddington said about the five-year agreement.
Since the Nov. 11, 2011, dedication of the original Avenue, one name has been added to the list of local fallen soldiers, who served during the Afghanistan conflict. The new location will recognize that addition, as well as note the original dedication with a relocation notice of Nov. 11, 2020.
Eddington said many people have asked how veterans who were not killed in action could be recognized, and noted the Avenue itself only honors the fallen. However, sponsors are able to get pavers — small bricks with dedications — to be placed along the path to recognize a family member who served their country.
“It will be a great addition to the Monterey County San Lorenzo Park,” Eddington said. “It’ll be utilized and be another feature. The setup lends itself to celebrations and memorials. Putting it here, it’ll give it the attention and appreciation it deserves.”