The next milestone in a $1 million project to honor and remember those who have served in the military will take place next week.

A groundbreaking for the new Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria is set for 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 at Eighth Avenue and Broadway, the former location of Legion Park.

The event, which is open to the public, is the culmination of years of planning, coordinating and fundraising.

It will include speaker Russ Oorlog, vice president of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee, presentation of colors led by Larry Osborne, and the National Anthem by Angie Reichmann.

Representatives from all six branches of the military will be there – Ralph Berg from the Army, Gabe Pipo from the Navy, Jim Conn from the Air Force, Grant Haugen from the Marines, Tom Hargreaves from the Coast Guard and Ken Voigt from the Merchant Marines.

Other dignitaries include: Richard Schlosser from the Vietnam Veterans Association; Larry Puls with the Marine Corps, who is also the project manager; Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson; city council member Bobbie Osterberg; City Parks Director Bill Thoennes; and Douglas County Commissioner Jerry Rapp.

Support for the park continues to pour in. On Monday, the Alexandria City Council approved a construction contract to build public restrooms at the site, a project that’s estimated to cost $167,024.

Members of the park’s fundraising committee said that several big donations were recently made. About $800,000 has been raised, bringing the group closer to its $1.1 million goal.

Individuals who have served in the military with connections to west-central Minnesota are encouraged to submit an application to be honored by name on the park memorials, which will also include years of service and branch of service.

So far, the committee has accumulated more than 7,000 names that will be engraved on a granite tablet. The rolls will soon be closed on the Early War Era (1861-1903) and engraving of the names of those soldiers from the Civil War and Spanish-American War started this month.

A $100 donation is requested to honor an individual veteran and may be submitted by a family member, relative or friend. To submit a name, make a donation or to find out more information, go to the website, or email or write to VMP, P.O. Box 733, Alexandria, MN 56308.

July 4, 2020 is set as the park dedication date.