Riverside challenges businesses to reserve Purple Heart parking, and businesses are answering the ca

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(This article was written by Ryan Hagen and published on www.pe.com on May 25, 2019)

Veterans wounded in combat should have parking reserved for them in front of Riverside businesses, Mayor Rusty Bailey announced this week — and he’s challenging business owners to make it happen.

Bailey issued the challenge as Riverside proclaimed itself a “Purple Heart City” during the City Council meeting Tuesday, May 21.

Just outside the council chambers, city workers had already put up a sign and painted purple lines on the pavement to designate a spot as reserved for combat-wounded veterans.

And within hours, other business owners answered the call.

Orlando Cobos, the owner of C&B Liquidation, said Thursday that he was just waiting for Bailey’s office to give him a sign so he can install it. That’s scheduled for next week.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to join any force because my parents wouldn’t sign the form, since I was the only son, but I have family who are veterans,” said Cobos, whose business opened in January at 4382 Tequesquite Ave. “I want them to have parking out front since they did serve our country and got wounded in combat. I want to give back. It’s my way of paying it forward to the community.”

Several other businesses also expressed interest, said Liz Pinney-Muglia, an assistant in Bailey’s office.

The mayor’s office is coordinating the program, which uses signs the city received for free from the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Councilman Chuck Conder said he’d gone to the Mission Grove shopping center, where the property owners had OK’d the signs, to see what four of the larger businesses thought.

“Everyone immediately said they want to be part of this and will work with their corporate headquarters, because (they) want to be able to say, ‘Stater Bros. is a supporter of our Purple Heart and our combat-wounded parking places,’” Conder said. “So that’ll be coming shortly.”

Becoming a Purple Heart City requires city officials to make a proclamation and puts that city on the Purple Heart Trail, an honorary collection of areas that have publicly honored Purple Heart recipients.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties are members, as are cities including Banning, Calimesa, Canyon Lake, Corona, Eastvale, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, San Jacinto, and Temecula.

The gesture makes a difference, said Len Tavernetti, service officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 2929 in Beaumont.

“Some of us have visible scars, some of us don’t, but we were all, at one time or another, very close to our maker, and talked, and were answered, and we’re back here today,” Tavernetti told the City Council. “We’re very grateful for that. Thank you for the way you honor us.”