By DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer
The Glendale Star
After lengthy discussion and a local resident’s request to have an American flag permanently placed atop Thunderbird Conservation Park, council is closer to approving the request.
Council heard an update during the Aug. 15 workshop and directed staff to research an ordinance that would allow the existing flagpole to remain at Arrowhead Park.
Mayor Jerry Weiers has pushed for a permanent flagpole on top of Arrowhead Point for more than a year and after conversations with members of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, has been spearheading the effort.
“They have already committed to raising the needed money and will raise every penny and partner in placing the flagpole,” Weiers said.
About 25 to 50 military veterans, wearing red shirts and hats, and supporters carrying hand-held American flags, attended the meeting. Those residents were present at the workshop to listen to the proposal, with most leaving once the flagpole discussion was completed; they seemed in favor of the flagpole.
According to Weiers, hundreds of citizens in the area of the park have signed a petition in favor of a flag on Arrowhead Point and are in favor of a permanent flag.
“I see it as a great way to honor service members who have fought for this country,” said Walter Smolden, who attended the workshop dressed in a Navy hat. “I served in the Navy and would be honored to have our flag, which I fought to protect, placed at this location.”
Other people in attendance even said they would volunteer to maintain the pole if council approves it installation.
“I would be honored to go up once a week to maintain the pole and remove any trash,” said Peoria’s Robert Rodriguez, who also was in attendance. “I just think it is a nice way to honor those who have served and would be nice to see a flag flying over the city from the park.”
Weiers said the proposal to put a lighted flagpole in the parking lot was not popular with the interested groups, but they will not oppose it if the peak option was not feasible.
“The message to me was clear,” Weiers said. “They don’t want it in the parking lot. They want it on top of the hill, so it is viewable.”
Councilmembers were in favor of the flagpole, but questioned the size of the pole and believe the current one is acceptable.
“It’s a conservation park,” said Cholla District Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff. “I like it the way it is. People who use the park like it the way it is. Many people love to climb up to the top of the rock and get their pictures taken with the flag, which would be impossible with a pole as tall as a two-story house.”
Council gave staff consensus to move forward and bring an ordinance back to a future meeting for approval.