Monday's groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Patriot Plaza, a ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery, honors the courage and service of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The groundbreaking officially launches construction of a multi-million-dollar enhancement funded by The Patterson Foundation.
The Patriot Plaza project marks the first time an initiative of this scale has been funded by a private philanthropy in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — National Cemetery Administration. The Patterson Foundation is fully funding the design and construction of Patriot Plaza and replacement maintenance in perpetuity. The installation, which is situated on nearly two acres, will feature:
A 20,800-square-foot glass covering
Covered seating for 2,800 people
48,000 square feet of walkways and gathering areas
One 80-foot-tall stainless steel flagpole
A rostrum the size of one-and-a-half tennis courts that can seat a 55-piece orchestra
The Patterson Foundation's Initiative Consultant, Sandra Beckley, collaborated with a team of experts to develop the Patriot Plaza design and launch the construction project. The dedication of Patriot Plaza is planned for the spring of 2014.
The unique partnership between The Patterson Foundation and the National Cemetery Administration renews a connection that has lasted for more than 150 years: The Patterson family’s forebears were instrumental in President Abraham Lincoln’s election, and the nation’s national cemetery system originally began during President Lincoln’s administration in 1862.
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