The vacant lot in Center City Philadelphia where a building collapse killed six people last summer could soon become a memorial park.
The 22nd and Market Memorial Park Committee has been established to transform the site once occupied by a Salvation Army thrift store into a park. Committee member Tad Decker said he envisions, for now, a tranquil place that can be put together quickly as a reminder of what happened that day.
“It’s not where you are going to dig and do all these things,” he said. “You are basically leveling the ground, you’re putting in some trees and some grass and some some benches to sit on. It’s not some hugely expensive or time-consuming construction.”
Philadelphia City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, one of the committee leaders, lost her daughter, Anne Bryan, in the building collapse. Winkler has been fairly private about her loss but did testify at a City Council hearing in November.
“Who could ever have expected their 24-year-old child to leave our house one bright, sunny June morning and be killed under the rubble of a collapsed store?” she said then. “For us, it’s just three blocks away from our home.”
The committee hopes to receive permission from the Salvation Army so work can begin on the temporary memorial, said Decker. He said he expects something smaller may be created once a new building rises on the site.
“There have been pop-up gardens in various places where the Horticultural Society has helped people put this in,” he said. “They are not extensive, they are not elaborate but, in this case, you could do something that would be very appropriate.”
The group hopes to have the park in place by June 5 to mark the one-year anniversary of the collapse.