Veterans Upset After Proposal to Move Monuments to Make Room for Pickleball Courts

GRASS VALLEY -- Bernadine Bachli touched her name on a veterans monument at Memorial Park in Grass Valley on Thursday.

"I loved it," she said.

That's what the 95-year-old thinks of her time in the service.

But the city has proposed a plan to remove and relocate another one of the monuments in Memorial Park to make more room for four pickleball courts.

"No matter what they put in, it's gonna ruin it," she said.

And it's not just Bernadine. Many of the veterans in town are outraged at the idea.

"What? In a memorial park like this? Nah. Come on!," said Pete "The Greek" Vasilakoas.

They're outraged with the idea of relocating that monument because it honors a local WWI veteran. The monument consists of a tree that was planted in the park a hundred years ago along with the veteran's plaque in front of it.

There are four others like it in the park. There are 1,400 veteran names on the nearby veterans memorial wall.

And there are roughly 90 people in the local pickleball club.

"You're telling me that pickelball courts are more important than veterans' plaques? Not!" said Marine Corps veteran Gary Miller.

What upsets them the most about the proposal is that they say the city never reached out to let them know.

"It's not like we're a secret organization," said Will Buck with the Nevada County Veterans Council.

The Nevada County Veterans Council has since reached out to the city of Grass Valley to let them know they are not going to let the monument be moved without a fight.

Thursday morning, the city met with the veterans to discuss the pickleball plan.

The mayor declined to speak with FOX40 on camera.

City Manager Tim Keys told FOX40 that after speaking with the veterans they agreed to shorten the space for the pickleball project.

They said they wouldn't touch the plague. And that if they needed to remove the tree, which they say is diseased, they would find a way to do it respectfully.

Keys said the city made some mistakes on their end, specifically by not reaching out to the Nevada County Veterans Council.

He added that they never intended to be disrespectful.

"As much as we all want to see wars stop, we understand that they won't. So we want to preserve this park for future generations," Buck said.