Local veterans speak out against moving forward with veteran’s museum

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - After two long decades, the development of a veterans museum here in Laredo continues to be at a standstill.

After a back and forth that’s lasted those many years, the item still came up at this week’s city council meeting.

City council circled back to the issue, but once again, no progress was made.

They sent the topic to the Veterans Affairs Committee where veterans will make their cases heard on why they should move forward with the museum or why they shouldn’t.

”This has gone on for 20 years because what’s the message? We don’t want it.”

Laredo veterans plead for the countless time to stop the building of the long proposed veterans museum at the Farias home in downtown Laredo, designated as a historic landmark.

”There’s a difference between historical and junk, and I think it’s sending good money after bad to try to renovate an adobe block building even though it may be designated, I don’t know how it got designated historical,” said a local veteran.

Veteran after veteran spoke at Monday night’s city council meeting, making their case for why the museum shouldn’t happen, or at least shouldn’t be located at the Farias house.

From environmental concerns like claims of lead in paint to who it should be named after to finances, arguments previous city council administrations have heard.

”Why wasn’t it built back then when the building was still structurally sound?” asked Jesus Segovia. “It will take a lot less money to build a brand new museum from the ground up.”

The city and county entered into a contract about 10 years ago committing $500,000 each to the project.

They are legally obligated on one hand, but on the other.

”Maybe it was a mistake, I’m not saying it was I’m saying maybe, prior councils made, and maybe it’s time we commit new funds to doing whatever the majority of veterans want,” said Councilmember Alberto Torres. I think it’s gotten so old and redundant, and it’s a shame to see our veterans at each other’s throats.”

In 2018, multiple local veterans groups filed a lawsuit against Webb County citing a lack of movement on the project.

Prior to that in 2017, the museum was proposed to be located at North Central Park, but veterans were opposed to that location as well.

In 2016, one veteran said at a commissioner’s court meeting: ”I don’t know how it got so political, dirty under the table... everybody is talking about, ‘oh, we’ll build it here or there,’ and it takes millions and millions.”

”And we must make a decision because if not, 20 years later a new council will be up here, and we’ll still be discussing the same item,” said Councilmember Marte Martinez.

Council says they’ll circle back to it within about two months after the veterans affairs committee hears from the veterans in a more in-depth discussion.

Many of the council members said they are willing to do whatever the majority of the veterans want to do.

The Farias family said some renovations still needed to be done include the doors, windows, and Corinthian columns.

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