IVINS — A grassroots group in Ivins says it is abandoning its efforts to create a Veterans Memorial in Ivins.

Participants in a charity tournament at Sunbrook Golf Course to raise funds for an Ivins Veterans Memorial, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2023 | Photo courtesy of Laela Gaylord, St. George News

Laela Gaylord, co-chair of the group that was trying to raise funds for such a memorial to be built at Ivins City Cemetery, made the announcement to end efforts during the Ivins City Council meeting last week.

It wasn’t lost on Gaylord that she was making what she said was a sad announcement on the 82nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack and the United States entry into World War II.

Gaylord blamed what she said was a lack of city administrative support for the project.

“We had hoped to have been more successful,” Gaylord said. “We are sorry to have disappointed those who had faith in us and we were disappointed to not have the city administration behind us. We gave it the best shot we could but we realized we couldn’t do this alone.”

Aiming to cover the $300,000-400,000 cost of building a memorial, Gaylord said the group had raised $4,175. Most of that was raised at a November fundraising golf tournament

Gaylord said the funds raised are being turned in to the St. George Exchange Club, which will hang on to it “untouched” for six months before they are to go entirely to the “needs of veterans in Washington County.”

After Gaylord informed the council, the city’s mayor said he couldn’t let criticism of the city go unanswered.

“This is coming across as an indictment of the city and this City Council never suggested it would provide funding,” Hart said. 

File photo of Ivins Mayor Chris Hart during the Ivins City Council meeting, Ivins, Utah, March 2, 2023 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

When the design was presented to the council in July, council members expressed their approval for the design, which consisted of four large rectangular stones with Ivins veterans’ names etched on black granite atop the signature Ivins red sandstone.

However, while donating the land at Ivins City Cemetary, council members and city officials said they could not commit to any funding and the private effort would need to fund the memorial on its own. 

The memorial committee’s co-chair Steve Corry said during last Thursday’s meeting that he realized the City Council has to balance a budget and prioritize things like public safety and public works.

We know cities have competing interests,” he said, before adding that this doesn’t mean the dream of a memorial is dead.

Both he and Gaylord said it will be up to Ivins city leaders to see if they can muster a larger, city-led effort to make the memorial happen. 

“We are at a crossroads,” Corry said. “We realized a small grassroots committee was not sufficiently strong (enough) to take this project to fruition.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.