After years of planning, fundraising and anticipation, the new Dover Veterans Park adjacent to the McConnell Center and City Hall is finally under construction. Our friends and project collaborators at Rye Beach Landscaping have broken ground on the project, which is expected to be completed in time for a fall dedication.

This spring and summer Ironwood has worked closely with the City of Dover to refine the conceptual design for the park. Sited in an urban environ, the park will include a plaza displaying 5 granite monuments recognizing the 5 US military branches as well as 7 paver stones representing the 7 US reserve and guard units. The plaza’s center stone will be etched with the City seal in thanks to the community that worked so hard to make the park a reality. Flowering shrubs will ensconce the plaza, providing a sense of intimacy and buffering the site from street noise.

Once completed, the Veterans Park will be an appropriate venue for both large and intimate military services and memorials. It is designed for full ADA accessibility and to accommodate wheelchair seating adjacent to attractive park benches.

A new brick walkway will connect the park to adjacent buildings and sites. The City is funding the park in part through the sale of engraved bricks, which can be ordered through the City. Those who wish to honor a veteran are welcomed to purchase a walkway brick for engraving and installation later this year.

The park will be an inviting space for contemplation, but also a pleasant space for relaxing, socializing, and enjoying the outdoors. It is not solely a memorial to those who died serving our country. The park will commemorate both dead and living US military veterans: there are 23 million military veterans in the United States, and approximately 130,000 of them live in New Hampshire. Many thousands of vets live locally, and soon they have a place close by that they can call their own.