The Saratoga Sun -

Tyler Pickett Park gaining momentum, enthusiasm

 

Keith McLendon

A possible future for Tyler Pickett Park modified from sketches provided by town of Saratoga engineer Chuck Bartlett.

Conceptual designs and discussions of a memorial park to honor Carbon County’s only fallen Iraq War veteran are, once again, coming to the forefront after the project lost traction in 2009.

Tyler Pickett, of Saratoga, lost his life in combat June 8, 2008, making him the only soldier from Carbon County to die in the war in Iraq.

The travesty prompted the town to honor Pickett in some way.

“Shortly after Tyler Pickett was killed in action the idea came up,” said Saratoga Mayor John Zeiger. “We should name a street after him, or do something in his memory.”

Preliminary discussions led to the idea of building and dedicating a new park to Pickett.

“We just thought that would be a perfect thing to honor Tyler,” Zeiger said.

The town of Saratoga bought the land in front of Veterans Island on Jan. 14, 2009 for $110,000 to be used for an annex of Veterans Island. Development of the land never occurred.

“The 2010-2011 floods kind of put things on the back burner,” Zeiger said. “The town’s budget got hit hard.”

The American Legion took over and began to spearhead the project, Zeiger said. But development of the park was still slow.

Now, the project is regaining some traction with discussions of actual funding.

Tom Rodeno, a snowbird who organized the “Beautify Saratoga” project which took place the end of May, has promised funding for an irrigation system estimated to cost $25,000.

Rodeno said he also wants to initiate conversations with contractors and land developers for the project.

Rodeno learned about the unfinished park project in May after discussing the issue with town officials during a barbeque. Rodeno heard the American Legion was trying to secure funding for the project. Rodeno said he wanted to know how he could help.

Rodeno said his overall goal is to instill a heightened sense of pride in the Saratoga community.

“Hopefully, if we do this, we can get a beautiful park up,” Rodeno said.

However, Rodeno said he won’t move forward until a solid timeline for the project is in place.

With Rodeno’s potential contribution, more interest in the project has popped up, said Councilman and American Legion member Steve Wilcoxson.

The National Guard and Boy Scouts have showed interest in volunteering and donating equipment to get the project done. The American Legion is also working on securing grant funding for the project.

“I think (the project) is progressing well, now that it is starting to get the public attention that it deserves,” Wilcoxson said.

Pickett’s mother, Sheri Peterson, was speechless when she learned of Rodeno’s potential contribution to the development of the park.

“There are a lot of things they want to do with that park, and I think it is a wonderful thing,” Peterson said. “My son was pretty humble and quiet, so I think he would be overwhelmed by that.”

However, a timeline has yet to be established for the project. Further, total funding for the park is still a question.

 

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