War Veterans Memorial Park was built more than half a century ago by hand by a small group of Vineyard Haven veterans who were members of the George W. Goethals American Legion Post. The men spent their weekends hauling fill and toting rakes and shovels to convert ten acres of swamp in an area known as Cat Hollow to a public park.
An anonymous donor contributed five thousand dollars to the cause, which was without question an Islandwide effort. “The park is by no means limited to the purposes of Tisbury — its function is Islandwide, which is a fine thing, because there is no other area of the kind on the Vineyard,” wrote the Vineyard Gazette in an editorial in August of 1958.
The park opened with a grand field day that attracted Islanders of every age and stripe. Today Veterans Park remains an essential Island institution. From March until December its grassy fields support hundreds of children and adults who play soccer, baseball, lacrosse and softball. A short walk from the ferry, the park is Vineyard Haven’s hidden jewel.
But it has also fallen into a state of disrepair and needs much work, including a new drainage system. A town committee has formed to address the problem and an article is planned for the annual town meeting warrant.
Restoring Veterans Park is a priority project, and Tisbury town leaders should not hesitate to pledge town resources, to the fullest extent possible.