Max Cohen, an Army veteran from Wakarusa, Kansas, plans to transform part of his 30-acre property into a sports complex for veterans and their families.
Seventeen acres of the lot will be devoted to Heroes Memorial Sports Park and will include a campsite, rental cabins, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a clubhouse, a woodworking and metalworking shop, and an 8-acre lake that offers fishing, rowboats, paddle boats, canoes and a racetrack for remote control boats.
Cohen wants to develop the complex so veterans and their families in the area have a place to unwind and have fun. “I am doing it because I want the park to be a place where veterans and their families can have a great time and feel safe,” Cohen told American Military News.
Admission to the park will be free to all veterans and their families.
Cohen and his wife, Veryl Cohen, have lived on the property for a decade. Previously, Cohen used the property as a pig farm. Now that the farm has moved to another residence, he is looking to leave the land to those who can benefit from it.
“I’m getting old and my wife’s getting old,” Cohen said. “We might as well leave this to someone who can enjoy it.”
He plans to create the park in phases. The first phase is to expand the size of the lake by 7 acres, and that began the first weekend in January. The lake will include a pier, which will be accessible for veterans in wheelchairs so they would be able to fish. He will also install a 10-foot fence around the perimeter of the property, along with security cameras.
Cohen also plans to install a “Heroes Wall” in the park that will honor all military members from the area who lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There will also be a “Donation Wall” that will feature the names of everyone who donated at least $100 to make the completion of the park possible.
Cohen said he has raised about $4,000 of the $20,000 needed to finance of the first phase.
He estimates the cost of completing all four phases of his plan to be $800,000.
Along with donations, Cohen is paying for the park with his own money. Cohen is accepting donations to help complete this project.
“Please help us to say ‘Thank you’ to those who have served by giving them a place to enjoy and relax with their families,” Cohen added.