Commissioners submit application to make Moffat County home of National Garden of American Heroes
With destruction of monuments and the attempt to erase history, President Donald J. Trump wanted to take action to help preserve American history. To do so, President Trump took steps forward to create a National Garden of American Heroes, signing Executive Order No. 13934 – Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes – on July 3.
Now, all the order needs is a home within the United States. Moffat County hopes that home is right here inside the county’s borders.
On Thursday, Aug. 27 at a special county commissioners’ meeting, commissioners Ray Beck, Don Cook and Donald Broom approved the application to nominate Moffat County – specifically Loudy-Simpson Park – as a potential home for the National Garden of American Heroes.
Natural Resources Department Director Jeff Comstock played a pivotal role in commissioners pursuing the application for the garden.
The National Garden of American Heroes is looking for land, statues to be donated, and recommendations for statues to be erected in the garden.
In late July, Moffat County Commissioners received an email from Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, which listed the criteria the U.S. Department of the Interior was looking for when it came to the location of the potential garden.
In that original criteria, the Department of the Interior was looking for a location that was close to a metropolitan area near a lot of people, Comstock said.
A few weeks later, the Department of Interior adjusted their criteria, opening up the project to rural areas that would benefit the economics of a county in rural America.
That change piqued the interest of Moffat County, leading to the commissioners submitting a formal application to become the home of the National Garden of American Heroes, specifically at Loudy-Simpson Park.
“The reason Loudy-Simpson came to mind is because the Secretary actually asked for between 100 and 500 acres in size,” Comstock said. “Loudy-Simpson is roughly 450 acres in size.”
With the loss of fossil fuels in the near future, commissioners believe the National Garden would help mitigate some lost tax revenue, jobs, and local business revenue while serving as a tourist attraction.
“This new monument would provide an opportunity for Moffat County to honor its existing agriculture, mining, electricity generation, and western frontier heritage, while giving national recognition to American Heroes of all backgrounds,” the commissioners wrote in their letter of support to the Department of the Interior.
“I think this is a huge opportunity for Moffat County, one that we are taking seriously,” Ray Beck said. “…We know our chances are slim to none, but on behalf of Moffat County we’re going to do our due diligence and put in for this request that has come from the Department of Interior.”
Along with the application from Moffat County, commissioners received letters of support from City of Craig Mayor Jarrod Ogden, as well as Colorado Governor Jared Polis, both of whom expressed support of Moffat County as a possible location to Secretary Bernhardt.
“We at the City of Craig believe that it would be a privilege and an honor to support the Commissioners of Moffat County and to be selected to host a location honoring our national history and the contribution made by these significant Americans,” Mayor Ogden said. “The history of the United States has been shaped into the greatest republic the world has ever known with the creation of our exceptional founding documents. This legacy and these honored Patriots have been an inspiration to all of us, especially now as we struggle to protect our freedoms, liberty, and justice for all American Patriots.”
Colorado Office of Just Transition Director Wade Buchanan also wrote a letter of support to Secretary Bernhardt, citing Moffat County’s changing economic factors as a reason why the Garden should be placed within the county.
“Others will attest to Moffat County’s stunning natural beauty, abundant recreational opportunities and other attributes that make it a great candidate for consideration. But what I find most compelling — and why I am writing this letter — is the opportunity to honor the contribution Moffat County and communities like it have made to our nation. Along with a broad range of great Americans, the National Garden gives us an opportunity also to honor communities and workers that helped fuel our prosperity and secure our energy independence,” Buchanan wrote. “As market forces, along with health and environmental imperatives, move our nation away from the use of coal, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation making it a statewide priority to seek a “just transition” for the workers and communities that will be most negatively affected. We take this charge very seriously. And we believe choosing a coal-transition community such as Moffat County as the location for the National Garden would send a clear and powerful message — both of appreciation and of commitment to the future vitality of these communities.”
It is unclear at this time when a decision may come down from the Department of the Interior.
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