LAFAYETTE (CBS SF) –The battle over the fate of an East Bay war memorial could be decided Monday night as the Lafayette City Council discusses the land where the more than 4,000 crosses near the BART station are on display.

The crosses aren’t the main issue; the concerns center around two run-down houses on the backside of the hill that sit on the same plot of land.

For the past 12 years, thousands of small white crosses have stood as a silent memorial for the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other side of the hill are two old abandoned houses.

“It’s bigger than any of us, and we want to keep it as a sacred place,” said Memorial volunteer Lynn MacMichael.

The crosses and the houses are on private property owned by the Clark family. Now the family wants to sell.

The old houses used to be on the same lot. But last month the planning commission allowed the family to move the lot lines, separating the houses onto two separate lots, making it easier to sell.

Now that decision is being called into question by the City Council.

“Some people in the community who were opposed to the memorial have decided to get involved, because they really want to participate in helping to decide what eventually happens with the property,” said artist and anti-war activist Jeff Heaton.

The Clark family originally offered to donate the land to Lafayette, but city officials said no.

Now a dedicated group of activists are trying to figure out how to potentially work with the new owners to see their original project continue on in some way.

“Ideally, put veteran housing at the top of the property and transform the crosses into some sort of permanent peace memorial,” explained Heaton.

The city council is expected to talk about the lot line changes at its meeting that starts at 7 p.m. Monday night. The council will also decide if there needs to be a public hearing to help determine the future of this project.


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