West Hollywood, California (Monday, September 21, 2009) – Sal Guarriello, the recently deceased and much-beloved longtime West Hollywood city council member, will be memorialized tonight with the renaming of Holloway Park and Veterans’ Memorial to Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial.
Mr. Guarriello passed away on April 16, 2009 after spending 15 years on the council.
The council will take the action, recommended by the city’s Public Facilities Commission, this evening as part of the regular council meeting.
Creation of the park was among Mr. Guarriello’s most precious legacies to the city, a constant reminder to all who drove past the site of the sacrifices so many made to keep America, and West Hollywood, secure.
Mr. Guarriello spearheaded the project, which saw construction and dedication in 1993; the official laying of the bronze plaque will coincide with the park’s sixth year anniversary on November 11.
The park was highly controversial at the time of its construction because Mr. Guarriello famously promised “not on penny of taxpayer money” would go toward it; private fundraising and grant funding, however, fell short of the projected cost of $200,000 (and actual cost of $250,000) by as much as $150,000, which the city made up.
Tens of thousands of dollars found their way into the city’s coffers when a developer named Mark Siffen donated $21,000 to the council member’s pet project the morning the council heard and approved his request for large billboards on the Sunset Millennium hotel. (Mr. Guarriello voted in favor).
The park has become the scene for two important commemorations each year, Memorial and Veterans Day, the high points of the year for the presiding council member Guarriello, a World War II vet who served as a medic in Italy and earned a Purple Heart.
Council member Jeffrey Prang shares an anecdote about Mr. Guarriello, who often produced photos he took in Rome of the scene the day then-Dictator Benito Mussolini’s subjects deposed, mutilated and hung him in a public square.
West Hollywood’s Russian speaking population, upwards of 15 percent of the city’s population, has a high incidence of WWII veterans of the Soviet Army, which in WWII was allied with the US in what they called “The Great War.”
Attendance by Russian speakers at Veteran’s and Memorial Days often rivals that of Western army vets.
Plans for a water feature’s addition to the site stand (at city expense), with a projected 2010 completion date, and the feature will incorporate the Memorial’s new name.
The plans for re-dedicating the park include: A rededication plaque placed at the base of the existing dedication plaque. The existing 18 by 24″ bronze plaque will remain in place as a point of reference.
The approximate size of the rededication plaque is 18 feet by 8 feet. The proposed rededication plaque will be made of the same material and finish of the existing plaque and will contain the following text:
The City of West Hollywood Proudly Rededicates Holloway Park and Veterans’ Memorial on this 11th Day of November 2009, as:
“Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial | In honor of the late West Hollywood Council member and World War II Army Veteran, who played an instrumental role in creating this place of great reflection and remembrance.”