Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2018

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Permanent remembrance wall to be installed at downtown Healing Garden

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Get Outdoors Nevada

A rendering shows the permanent wall, made of corten steel and other materials less susceptible to weather, that will be installed at the Healing Garden in Las Vegas.

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The day after a mass shooting took place on the Las Vegas Strip, Jay Pleggenkuhle and Daniel Perez of Stonerose Landscapes organized the building of a community healing garden through volunteers and donations from various businesses. The Garden opened on First Friday, Oct. 6, five days after the tragic event. It is now filled with tokens of remembrance for the fallen victims, Monday, Oct. 10, 2017.

Built in the four days following Oct. 1 to offer a place to remember those affected by the mass shooting, the Healing Garden Remembrance Wall downtown is set for a permanent upgrade.

Organizers were at the site Monday moving the current Remembrance Wall erected after a lone gunman killed 58 concertgoers and injured 800 others at the Route 91 Harvest festival. The surrounding Healing Garden was also planted during that time, featuring among other foliage, 58 trees, representing each of the victims.

With the original wall being made from wood, Get Outdoors Nevada, the organization that maintains the site, wanted to construct a more permanent wall, made of corten steel and other materials less susceptible to weather.

“We understand how important this garden and wall are, so we want to make sure that everything here will be able to be maintained for as long as possible,” said Jessica Anderson, director of community engagement for Get Outdoors Nevada. “We want it to be a reminder to the public that it isn’t going anywhere — it’s staying and will be available for people to visit for years to come.”

Keeping the interactive aspect of the wall alive was important to organizers, so they opted to forgo the more traditional marble memorial with names engraved, to ensure those who want to leave behind mementos would have the opportunity to do so.

“We wanted to continue to have the same feel as the current remembrance wall,” Anderson said. “It will still have the opportunity to hang pictures and notes and all the same stuff that the current wall has. The spirit of the garden is that we keep it very community based. People come and bring things all the time and it's part of what makes this place so special.”

To specifically include each of the victims in the memorial, a donated angel wings sculpture that will be placed at the site will feature the initials of each of the 58 casualties.

The new adaptation of the remembrance wall was designed by Jay Pleggenkuhle of Stonerose Landscapes, who also designed the original wall and garden.

The entire project will be funded by donations, with $130,000 collected thus far.

Additionally, community partners McCarthy Building Cos., CivilWorks, SME Steel, Penta Building Group and Helix Electric are also donating their time, materials and equipment to build the new wall.

Despite being replaced, the original wall won’t be discarded. It will remain on the site until the new wall is complete, then disassembled and stored. The final plans for the wall are still being planned.

The new memorial wall will be complete by Oct. 1, when a dedication ceremony and remembrance event will occur.

“It will be held in the evening and we’ll also have a short event that honors the 58, where we’ll read off each of their names,” Anderson said. “It will be a very quiet and respectful moment.”