Dublin is getting ready to unveil a new community park that will feature a public art installation in the form of an American veterans' memorial monument.
The Don Biddle Community Park is a new 30-acre park located on a former portion of Camp Parks Army Base. On Saturday (Sept. 24), the city will hold a grand opening of the park that will be part of a community celebration that will also include the park's dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
The veterans' monument was a key element in the plans and development for the new park, which is named for Don Biddle, who once served as Dublin's vice mayor during his 40 years of dedication to the Dublin community. He died in 2018.
Sculptor Steven Whyte and his team were selected in 2018 to design, create, and install the new veterans' memorial. The monument's title and design reference Dublin's early history and its reputation as the crossroads of the Bay Area. As it has been for the last six decades, Dublin is located at the crossroads of Interstate 580 and Interstate 680, two major freeways bisecting the burgeoning Tri-Valley region.
Dublin's significance as a crossroads dates back hundreds of years to when Native American trading trails criss-crossed the area. Whyte saw a correlation between this history and his military subject. He wanted to reflect on the crossroads prompted by military service, how Camp Parks had led many individuals to cross paths in Dublin, shaping the community as they served the United States.
Whyte designed a memorial centered around the crossing of two roads. Constructed in concrete, the two roads are sculpted with a variety of textures to indicate everything from evolving Jeep tire treads to a large variety of footprints representing the many varieties of servicemen and women who have left their mark on Camp Parks and Dublin. These elements allow for public participation and engagement, encouraging visitors to walk in the footsteps of these heroes.
The two roads are also designed to symbolize the journey of military service and the long path that begins with enlistment and travels through training, deployment and the eventual return to civilian life.
Standing at the four corners of the intersection are four 9-foot-tall figures of veterans standing at attention in front of flags erected at each junction. Each figure represents a military branch and period significant to Dublin's Camp Parks.
"As the son of a career military officer, I grew up on military bases," Whyte said. "I have always had the utmost respect for servicemen and women. Their sacrifice, bravery, and commitment to duty represents the truest expression of patriotism and love of country. I am deeply impressed that the city of Dublin chose to include a veterans' tribute in the development of this new community park. When Dublin residents play on this playground, engage in a tennis match, or have a picnic, they will do so alongside this permanent reminder of the men and women who sacrificed so that they could enjoy this park in safety and freedom."
Camp Parks is home to the U.S. Army's 91st Division and part of the U.S. Army Combat Support Training Center. The facility was built during World War II and was commissioned in January 1943 as Camp Parks.
Saturday's ceremonies will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The park is located at 6100 Horizon Pkwy., Dublin.