Design touches add impact to Veterans Memorial Park

VetsWall Roste
The large wall at the Veterans Memorial Park began to take shape on Tuesday as Jeff Roste of Creative Impact Design attached the lettering and designs. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

Work on the Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria is marching ahead.

On Tuesday, Jeff Roste with Creative Impact Design and his daughter, Jacy, affixed stunning visual touches to the Veterans Wall of Honor.

The backstory for the design components of the park is an interesting one, noted Jim Conn, a member of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee.

The initial concept for the park and its corresponding Veterans Wall of Honor was created by Widseth Smith and Nolting architect Greg Bohl in 2017 in conversations with Russ Oorlog and Gabe Pipo.

“After the initial concept was approved, our veterans committee seemed to be getting nowhere while trying to move from a 2-D concept to that of a structure having a larger-than-life 3-D visual impact,” said Conn.


One day, the light bulb went off for Conn when he remembered that Roste completed advertising brochures and photography for Conn’s old company in Glenwood, Thawzall, a few years back.

“I asked Jeff to come to a VMP meeting to see if he wanted to get involved and try to separate a bunch of GIs who were wrangling over the visual design of the park,” Conn said. “Jeff didn’t hesitate – and the rest is history.”

VetsWall 3200.jpg
Letters that will adorn Veterans Memorial Park are prepared by Jacy Roste in Alexandria on Tuesday. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

Project was a calling

“I told the guys, ‘I wasn’t in the service. You served your country. The least I can do is help you guys make something that you can be proud of and the community can be proud of,’” Roste said.

After Roste volunteered to develop a logo, the work kept snowballing. “Honestly, I’ve probably got 150 hours of my time into the veterans park, maybe more,” he said. “I stopped keeping track. Everything from looking to colors and shapes to where benches and statues should go.”

The one favor he asked of the group was that he be allowed to do any work when it came to plaques, for example, for a fee to offset his pro-bono work. They agreed.


Roste backed up his decisions with professional design techniques, explaining why a certain color worked better for the granite, why a particular font was preferred or why a design is more balanced and symmetrical.

VetsWall 3189.JPG
The large wall facing Broadway in Alexandria now proudly proclaims Veterans Memorial Park. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

He showed the committee members examples of how everything would look using computer-generated images. “That’s a very important piece of getting the guys to be able to visualize what this would look like,” Roste said.

Some of the images are so lifelike they resemble actual photographs. Upon seeing a photo Roste had taken after installing words on the edge of the community donor walls, Conn asked, “Is that computer generated or did you actually put those up today?”

Through several iterations over the past two years, the visual impact of the park has gotten better and better through Creative Impact Design, Conn said, adding it’s no small coincidence that “impact” is part of the company’s name.

“And all the while, Jeff was donating all of his design work to the VMP – countless hours over many months to get where we are today,” Conn said.

The committee estimates the value of Roste’s pro-bono work at well over $10,000.


Coming together

“By this time, Jeff had all of the veterans marching in single file while engaging critical opinions as they arose but continuing to move ever forward with a unified design,” Conn said.

The committee then decided to create a Donor Wall of Honor and asked Roste to put the concept together. Once approved, the committee asked him to develop a visual design in which all donors who gifted more than $200 will have their names engraved in granite and be memorialized permanently for generations to come.

“And within the next week or so, another one of our favored agencies, Fergus Monument Company of Fergus Falls, will be installing the Donor Wall of Honor based upon Jeff’s creative design work,” Conn said. “But that’s another story – with just as much depth as Jeff Roste’s story.”

Roste has enjoyed being a part of the process as it has unfolded.

“I love seeing things come to fruition,” he said. “I’ll bet the same thing happens with contractors and even architects.”

The Veterans Memorial Park will always mean a great deal to Roste but he can tell it means even more to many of the veterans he worked with. He’s seen it in their faces and through a few tears.

“This is really, really important for them,” Roste said. “It’s almost like a place they can come and leave everything behind.”

A dedication ceremony to open the new park at Broadway and Eighth Avenue is planned for July 4. For more information or to donate, go to the website, .

What To Read Next
Get Local