The hard, flattened dirt visible at the site of the June 2013 building collapse at 22nd and Market is a firm reminder that the incident has left an indelible mark on the city itself.
But the question of what will become of the empty lot has been overshadowed by high-profile trials, debate in City Council and at least one subsequent disaster.
Now, a group of civic leaders, urban planning and design professionals, clergy and the relatives of victims have formed the 22nd & Market Memorial Committee to advocate for the creation of a park at the site.
“A memorial park on this sacred site would honor and remember the six dead while providing a reflective and calming oasis in the center of a dense business district,” said committee co-chair Nancy Winkler, who lost her 24 year old daughter, Anne Bryan, in the collapse.
“The Committee recognizes the potential of this relatively small but important memorial park to help individuals and the community heal in the aftermath of this horrific, entirely avoidable event,” she added.
Winkler jumpstarted the plan with an online petition on www.change.org which gathered 6,000 signatures.
Mayor Nutter has expressed his full support for the initiative, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has set up a tax-exempt fund which the public may contribute to. Donations can be made at www.pennhort.net/memorial.
The immediate goal is to have a temporary memorial in place by June 5, 2014 on the anniversary of the collapse.
The rest of the committee members include:
- Barbara Adams, Esq., General Counsel, Philadelphia Housing Authority
- Jeff Braff, President, Center City Residents Association (CCRA)
- David R. Brigham, Ph.D., President and CEO, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Robert Coleman, fiancé of victim Kimberly Finnegan
- Thomas A. Decker, Esq., Vice Chairman, Cozen & O’Connor
- Kirk Dorn, Senior Director, Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy
- Nancy Goldenberg, Chief of Staff, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
- Alexander (Pete) Hoskins, President, Laurel Hill Cemetery
- David Seltzer, Principal, Mercator Advisors, LLC
- Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Executive Director, Penn Praxis, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
- Jerry Sweeney, President, Brandywine Realty Trust
- Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
- John White, Chairman, The PFM Group
(Image via Plan Philly Eyes on the Street)
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