January 8th Memorial plans scaled back as donations fall short

January 8th Memorial plans scaled back as donations fall short
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Construction of the January 8th Memorial is scheduled to begin soon, but the plans had to be scaled down after organizers failed to reach their fundraising goal.

In a letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the January 8th Memorial Foundation said it raised $2.3 million, about half of its goal of $4 million for construction.

All of the money came from private donors and no public funding was used.

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

The scaled-back plans for the memorial, which will be located in El Presidio Park on Alameda Street, can be viewed HERE.

"In our opinion, this in no way could be reflected as a failure," said Crystal Kasnoff, the Executive Director of the Jan 8th Memorial Foundation.

The foundation said it still hopes the memorial will be open by January 2020, the same time as the UA Mineral Museum.

Pima County, which is in charge of the construction, says the new design better fits the space on the west side of the county courthouse.

"The design is smaller and less complex," said the Director of Facilities Management, Lisa Josker. "I don't think we lost anything."

Even with a smaller design, it's believed it still fits the intent of the memorial.

"This is going to give us a place to really come together and talk, in a safe place," Kasnoff said. "We have a real opportunity here and we're super excited about it."

Josker says scaling back a project from initial, over ambitious first thoughts is not unusual.

"It happens all the time for a variety of reasons," she said. "In this case it was dollars."

But keeping the fundamentals becomes a priority.

"You take out some things that are superfluous," she said. "But you keep the basic elements in place."

And by doing so, it keeps the goals intact.

"If you just came to the memorial after it's built you probably wouldn't know the difference between a $4 million memorial and what is now a $2.3 million memorial," Kasnoff said.

The memorial was dedicated on Jan. 8, 2018, the seven-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson.

A gunman opened fire at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle roads during a Congress on Your Corner Event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed and 13 others injured, including Giffords.

Foundation 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 first responders.

Other dimensions of the plans included a reflecting pool, everyday park, cultural park, civic park and historic park. There was also to be an amphitheater, sculpture garden and water play area for children.

The updated plans show a reduction in the physical size of the memorial, but does not address the future of the other features.

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