Philadelphia treasurer seeks a memorial garden on collapse site

Philadelphia City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose daughter was killed in the June 5 building collapse in Center City, has begun an online petition aimed at making the site of the disaster a memorial park.

The petition on the website features a photo of Winkler’s daughter, Ann Bryan, and Bryan’s friend, Mary Simpson, who was also killed in the collapse.

The petition says a memorial park “would be a fitting way to acknowledge the disaster, to assure that it will never be forgotten and to remind the citizens of Philadelphia of the need for government oversight in building demolitions in order to protect public safety and human lives. A well designed park and memorial may provide healing for the many people touched by this horrific, entirely avoidable event.”

The petition is directed at Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke and the Salvation Army, which owned the thrift store where the victims were killed.

Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald said the administration is aware of the petition, but has no comment at this time. Clarke said in a statement that he continues “to grieve for the families and loved ones of those who were killed in this terrible tragedy.”

“If there is a role City Council can play in planning a memorial or tribute to the victims, I welcome input from all those most deeply affected by the Market Street collapse,” Clarke said.

A spokesman for the Salvation Army couldn’t be reached for comment.

Winkler added in a statement that the site “is hallowed ground and must be permanently preserved and memorialized as such. It would be an insult to the families who lost loved ones, to the survivors, and to all Philadelphians, if that site were to be commercially developed.”

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