SAN ANTONIO – On Tuesday, Uvalde city representatives and community members took the first steps to plan a permanent memorial for the Robb Elementary School shooting victims.
The city held a strategic planning meeting to discuss some exploratory ideas to properly honor the 19 students and two teachers murdered on May 24. It’s the first of many upcoming meetings between the city and the community.
Susan Anderson, the City of Uvalde’s director of Planning and Development, said part of the process would be examining what other cities have done that have suffered similar tragedies. During the meeting, Anderson referenced the Sandy Hook memorial after that school was rebuilt.
“In my opinion, the families come first before the public. The public’s opinion is not as important as the families,” said Anderson.
Another committee member presented the idea to honor the victims with 21 plaques around a fountain at the downtown plaza. The plaques would be placed on a granite stone and feature biographies of each victim.
Family members of the victims in attendance suggested placing the memorial at the Robb Elementary site after the school is torn down.
Jesse Rizo, the uncle of Jackie Cazares, said the site should be placed in a quiet setting.
“I believe sharing stories is the key,” said Rizo. “Somewhere where there is peace and tranquility, maybe feature a fountain or something that allows you to meditate.”
Anderson added during the meeting that a permanent memorial would be for the families, victims and the community before considering visitors or people passing through the city.
Anderson said some of the following steps include talking with family members and different groups, finding a location, designing and plans for funding.
“It’s something that you have to take your time with,” said Rizo. “Right now, we’re in the grieving process. It’s the stage where you are asking for accountability and things of that nature. It’s something that has to be really thought out and get the family members involved.”
Anderson said the city would continue to host meetings, and a final decision will ultimately come down to what the families want.