Construction of January 8th Memorial begins in spring

Published: Oct. 9, 2017 at 9:46 AM MST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2018 at 12:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Construction of the January 8th Memorial will begin in the next few months.

The January 8th Memorial Foundation said they should breaking ground in spring 2018.

The group said fundraising for the memorial will end Monday, Jan. 8, the seven-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson.

MORE: A look at the victims and survivors of the shooting

A major struggle has been gathering enough money to get the project going.

About five months ago, the executive director launched a GoFundMe page with a goal of $1.5 million. So far, the page has gathered a little over $15,000.

A bill that would have secured state funding stalled earlier this year

In October 2017, organizers announced new donors agreed to pitch in to help make the memorial a reality.

Several large donors, including Raytheon, announced a $1 million matching grant.

Under the plan, every dollar donated by the community or local business, will be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million.

"This means we are challenging the community and we believe this $1 million match grant is going to take us the completion phase of the fundraising for the construction of the memorial," said Crystal Kasnoff, the Executive Director of the Memorial Foundation.

Even if the foundation raises the entire amount, it will still be a bit short, but it will have enough money for construction.

"January 8, 2018 is not just an anniversary of that tragedy," said shooting victim and former Congressman from District 2, Ron Barber. "But will mark the end of the fund raising effort."

With construction starting in spring, it's hoped the memorial will be dedicated the same day as the dedication of the renovations and opening of the visitors center at the old county courthouse.

The memorial will be located in El Presidio Park on Alameda Street.

Found members have said one of the most unique features of the memorial will be the images etched in the memorial walls that reflect the lives of the victims, survivors, and even first responders.

While the park will help the community heal, there are also other features for everyone to enjoy.

The architect said it will have many dimensions including an everyday park, cultural park, civic park and historic park. There will be an amphitheater, a sculpture garden and water play area for children.

In an effort to instill confidence that the memorial will be built, the architect outlined the scope of the work with pink spray paint on the Presidio grounds.

There's also a posted sign which says "The Future Home of the January 8th Memorial."

Barber said there have been naysayers and says it's been an uphill battle but he thinks those concerns can be put to rest.

He said we used to hear, "Oh, it's never going to be built, you know those guys are just running around and are never going to make it happen," he said, "We are here to dissuade you of that notion because we are going to get this done, no question."

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