Virginia Beach says veterans will have say on any changes to memorial if arena is built

VIRGINIA BEACH — Mayor Will Sessoms promised the Tidewater Veterans Memorial will not be altered in any way if the city approves construction of an arena nearby, unless veterans first consent to changes.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Sessoms addressed concerns expressed by veterans at a recent public forum on the proposed arena deal. Veterans and their supporters worried the construction site’s proximity to the memorial, at Jefferson Avenue and 19th Street, would negatively affect it, damage it or remove it.

Deputy City Manager Doug Smith and the developer, United States Management LLC, met with the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Veterans Committee to discuss the concerns, Sessoms wrote in the letter.

Sessoms guaranteed that annual services at the memorial will continue to happen during arena construction and that “minor amendments for staging and parking” could be offered, if necessary. The veterans committee will approve any permanent changes to the memorial — structural or aesthetic —  before USM makes them, Sessoms wrote.

“The memorial and park will never move from the place it so honorably occupies,” he wrote.

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