By Kathy Lee Scott/Garden Grove Journal
To “prime the pump” for a Vietnam War museum in Garden Grove, all city councilmembers approved spending $25,000 from its contingency fund on a feasibility study. At Tuesday’s meeting, they also created a five-person ad hoc exploratory committee, on which two councilmembers would sit.
The committee will figure out how big the museum should be, what information it would contain and what it might cost.
Councilmembers Bruce Broadwater and Dina Nguyen were appointed to the committee. The rest of the members would come from the community.
Already two of those slots were filled. Peter Katz and Bailey McCune joined Broadwater and Nguyen on the committee. The third seat remained open at press time. Anyone wanting to serve can contact any councilmember or the city clerk.
“We’re especially interested in someone with museum fundraising experience,” Broadwater said.
“The museum will be an opportunity to educate those who didn’t experience the horrors of war,” Nguyen said. She suggested building it in the city’s International West area along Harbor Boulevard.
“Not just tourists would visit the museum,” said Mayor William Dalton. “Families of those who were over there would come to learn about the history of that time.”
Bernard Dagarin questioned whether the city should fund any part of the project. “You should turn the museum over to private citizens,” he said.
Katz envisioned eventually a non-profit foundation would run the facility. “It could reimburse the city for any expenditures,” he said.
At the meeting, Nguyen Hung volunteered to help raise money for the museum. “This is a history of freedom fighting,” he said.
Kimberly Huy, director of community services, said city staff asked a couple of consultants about conducting a feasibility study on the museum. “They said it would cost between $20,000 and $25,000.”
Once the feasibility study is finished, “we’ll decide what to do next,” she said.
Huy said the committee will begin defining the museum’s parameters as soon as possible. “Then we’ll send out requests for proposals,” she said.
The museum isn’t the only reminder of the Vietnam War in the county, where the largest population of displaced Vietnamese live.
In 2003, a $1.2 million Vietnam War Memorial was erected in Westminster. It contains an 11-foot tall bronze sculpture of a U.S. and Republic of South Vietnam soldier standing side by side on a five-foot marble pedestal. The monument in Freedom Park on Monroe Street costs the city $25,000 a year to maintain, according to a published report.
On Jan. 12, Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen championed an agreement with a Vietnamese art group to help fund a memorial dedicated to American and Vietnamese history at Roger Stanton Park in Midway City. The county would pay up to $350,000 for the memorial’s design and installation from an account targeted to improve the park.