Site of fatal building collapse will become public memorial park

Mayor Michael Nutter announced on Thursday that a property at the corner of 22nd and Market streets in Center City will become a memorial park to honor the six people killed when a building collapsed there last summer.

The property will be donated to the city by the Salvation Army, which operated a store that was damaged when a neighboring building, which was under demolition, collapsed. Nutter said that the park will be developed at no cost to the city.

The 22nd & Market Memorial Committee will manage the design and construction of the park. Jerry Sweeney, president of Brandywine Realty Trust, said the committee has already raised $50,000 toward the project and hopes to raise the estimated total cost, $250,000, by June 5, the anniversary of the collapse. Individuals interested in donating may do so through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s website.

The committee will unveil the design concept for the park in a meeting at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is around the corner from the site, on April 1 at 6 p.m. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will host a design competition open to PAFA alumni, staff and students for the memorial itself.

The park will be “a place to reflect,” Sweeney said.

Council President Darrell Clarke said he hopes the park will be a “ray of light” to the families of those who died in the collapse. He said City Council is waiting “with bated breath” to receive an ordinance to designate the land as a park.

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