GRANITE FALLS — Just past the ticket booth, when guests look left as they head toward the new grandstands, they’ll see a path of red bricks engraved with the names of veterans and active duty military servicemen and women.
Nearly 400 names have been submitted for the walkway so far. There could be room for hundreds more, stretching from the ticket booth toward the concessions stand.
That’s the vision for a new gathering place to honor U.S. veterans. It will be a memorial to those lost and a thank you to those who have served or are still serving. Volunteers began the work earlier this year.
The walkway is to be built at Granite Falls High School this summer, said Jeffrey Balentine, the school district’s capital projects manager and an Army veteran.
The grandstands are being built with money from a voter-approved $13.7 million bond. The veterans walk will not be paid for by bond dollars. The project is under the umbrella of the nonprofit Granite Falls Education Foundation, and is expected to be funded through donations and purchases of legacy bricks.
A second walkway branching off to the right from the ticket booth is to be lined with the legacy bricks. Those are on sale now through bricksrus.com. They can be purchased by anyone who wants to leave a name on the public walkway. They could be gifts for graduates, friends or family, Balentine said. Bricks cost at least $100 each.
The proceeds from selling bricks to the public for the legacy walkway will help pay for the veterans walkway, so that no veteran or service member has to pay anything for their bricks, Balentine said. He hopes at least 700 bricks will be purchased.
As time goes on, more bricks can be put in and the public walkway could expand into a plaza in front of the ticket booth. There’s also room for the veterans walk to be extended. Blank brick pavers can easily be replaced with engraved ones, Balentine said.
“It’s a living legacy,” he said.
If enough money is raised, the second piece of the memorial would be a granite backdrop for the Tiger Stadium sign. From the front of the sign, it could look like the silhouette of Mount Pilchuck, Balentine said. From the stadium side of the fence, behind the sign, the marble would be etched with images and words honoring each branch of the U.S. military.
Names of veterans still are being accepted for the walkway, Balentine said. It’s helpful if people can provide documentation, such as paperwork or photographs, of military service.
So far, they have names of folks from Granite Falls who have served in World War I up to present day, he said.
The contractor’s goal is to have the grandstand mostly done before September, Balentine said. The bricks would likely be installed in July or August, and the walkway finished before the grandstands open.
“How inspiring, I think, for students especially at the high school level to gather their thoughts and think about what veterans have sacrificed for them,” Balentine said.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
To buy a brick or donate, go to bricksrus.com/donorsite/tigerstadiummemorial.
To submit the name of a veteran for the walkway, go to granitefallswavets.com.