A local veterans group will update county commissioners on Tuesday of its plans to turn part of Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock into a multiuse tribute to the county’s veterans.

The Galveston County Veterans Coalition will present plans for the first phase of the park during the commissioners court’s Tuesday meeting.

The county has agreed to set aside 25 acres of land at the park between the Veterans Memorial at the park and the Veterans Sports Complex off FM 2004 in Hitchcock.

Jim Flex with the coalition said the first phase includes a “passive park” or green space with picnic shelters.

Each picnic shelter will honor a branch of the armed forces — the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The coalition also is discussing adding a sixth picnic shelter to honor the U.S. Merchant Marine as well.

The first phase also will be used in the future for the annual Veterans Watchfire that honors veterans during Memorial Day Weekend. Veterans groups hold the watchfire at the Texas City Dike currently.

The veterans park also would include a butterfly garden and an expanded pond already existing on the park grounds.

Flex said the coalition also would like to have an earthen berm that could be used to exhibit the Moving Wall, a mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., that travels around the country. The berm also could be used for events such as car shows.

Phase 1 is just the first step in the coalition’s plans. The entire plans would take three to four years to finish and include static military vehicle and hardware displays.

“I think this is going to be a great addition to Jack Brooks Park,” Flex said.

The coalition is looking to raise money to fund some of the more expensive elements of the plan. And a pair of Texas A&M students has volunteered to help the coalition with design work at little cost. Meanwhile, Flex has been visiting local communities drumming up support.

Flex said the park also would celebrate the vast history of the military’s impact on Galveston County. Every branch of the military has had, or continues to have, a base in or near Galveston County, he said.

“There’s a lot of (military) history in and around Galveston County,” he said.

Hitchcock had a naval air station that housed blimps; Ellington Field north of Galveston County has long had an Air Force presence. The U.S. Army held artillery training in Fort Crockett in Galveston during World War I. The fort was later used as an Army Air Corps base.

The park wouldn’t just be a salute to the county’s veterans and its military past. Flex said the facilities could be used for groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for camping, as well as other community events.

At a glance

WHAT: County Commissioners meeting

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Galveston County Courthouse, 722 Moody, in Galveston

Contact reporter Wes Swift at 409-683-5319 or wes.swift@galvnews.com.

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