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SA donates land for memorial park

“We will never forget what happened on that day,” said Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Pa. He then paused before continuing his speech to a gathering of journalists and people involved with the memorial park project. On June 5, 2013, a wall tumbled down on a Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia’s Center City during a botched demolition project in an adjacent lot. Six people in the store were killed and 13 other customers and employees were injured, as well as a heavy equipment operator at the demolition site.

Among the victims were Anne Bryan, an artist and 24–year–old daughter of Nancy Winkler, city treasurer, who started a petition drive to turn the disaster site into a public park.

“Our message today is to thank everyone for recognizing that this was the right thing to do and we appreciate that we’ve all come together and found a solution really quicker than I had imagined,” said Winkler, co–chair of the Memorial Committee. “We would like a beautiful park that reflects the importance of human life.”

“I will be drawn there,” said Winkler. “The preliminary designs are very beautiful, and I think many people will be drawn to the memorial.”

The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia generously offered to donate to the city the land on which the thrift store existed. This 2,445–square–foot parcel will be transformed into a memorial public park dedicated to the people who lost their lives there or who were injured. The transfer will require approval from several authorities in New York State, where The Salvation Army is incorporated.

“I would like to personally thank the folks from The Salvation Army for this gift,” said Nutter. “The city of Philadelphia is grateful for your generosity. We will accept it with great gratitude into the city’s inventory of the property of this particular site at 2140 Market St. from The Salvation Army at no cost to the city of Philadelphia.”

An estimated $250,000 is needed for the park, according to Gerard H. Sweeney, president of Brandywine Realty Trust, finance chairman of the 22nd & Market Memorial Committee.

Donations can be made through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which is designing the park, at pennhort.net/memorial or through indiegogo.com/projects/22nd-and-market-memorial-garden

by Warren L. Maye

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