Plans for permanent Sandy Hook memorial site scaled back

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The planned permanent memorial to honor the 26 people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut will be simpler but maintain the essence of the original design, members of the memorial committee said.

“The heart of the memorial is still the sycamore tree with the water around it and the names of the victims inscribed on the side of the water,” Dan Krauss, the volunteer chairman of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission, told the Connecticut Post. “You still have the engagement with the water and the peacefulness and reflection of walking along side of the ponds.”

Changes include eliminating the planned pavilion, narrowing paths and limiting paved surfaces at the donated 5-acre site. The alterations will drop the estimated project budget from $10 million to $3.7 million.

“We could not afford to do the grand design, but we preserved the centerpiece element we loved so much - a delicate and respectful memorial to the slain youngsters and adults we lost on that day,” said Pat Llodra, a former Selectman and a volunteer on the memorial committee. “We haven’t lost the essence of the design because the treatment of the land is so beautiful.”

There were concerns that the $10 million budget for the original design, which was chosen out of almost 200 submissions, wouldn’t be approved by voters.

The dedication date has also been pushed back two years to December 2021.

Much work still needs to be done including final design refinements with the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm SWA, public hearings on the proposal, land-use approvals and approval from town voters.

Dec. 14 is the 7th anniversary of the 2012 shooting that killed twenty first-graders and six educators.