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The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission (SHPMC) met on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 pm, at the Newtown Municipal Center to review how the registration and the intent to submit a design phase is going, and what the next steps for submissions will be.
SHPMC chair Kyle Lyddy said that since the registration link was made available to the public on the SHPMC website on September 22, 54 individuals/organizations had registered, as of the meeting.
Those who register online indicate their intent to submit a permanent memorial design and a required biography. After completing that initial step, the person submits their information and receives a confirmation e-mail with their personal identification code.
Mr Lyddy explained that in addition to many local individuals registering already, there have also been “a few international intents to submit a design from China, Israel, and New Zealand.”
Those who are still interested in reviewing the guidelines and submitting a registration form can do so until December 15 at sandyhookpermanentmemorial.com.
Mandatory Site Walks
With the registration process underway, the SHPMC has already started its mandatory guided site walks of the memorial property with commission members and potential designers.
Mr Lyddy said, “Compared to 54 individuals who have submitted registration, I’d say between 20 and 30 have signed up already to walk the grounds.”
Some of those tours also included Rob Sibley, deputy director of planning for the Land Use Agency, to answer more technical design questions.
However, Mr Lyddy said the most frequently asked question the commission has received thus far from people interested in doing a design is asking if it is a requirement to have a site visit, since it is difficult to get to the site for those that do not live locally.
He confirmed that right now they are continuing to have the guided site walks be mandatory, but will consider publishing a video of an electronic tour of the property for those unable to come by in person.
During the discussion, no one opposed the idea of a digital tour and found that it may be a good option to accommodate those who have already requested a second tour.
As of Friday, October 14, the SHPMC began accepting memorial designs through their website, for those that have already registered and received their personal identification code.
Designs can be uploaded electronically at shpmdesignregistration.com/upload.
As with registrations, submissions will also be accepted until December 15. Afterwards, the SHPMC will begin the evaluation process to review all the designs they received.
During the meeting, the SHPMC members discussed how during the first phase of evaluations designers will be represented by their identification code, not their names, to preserve anonymity.
Mr Lyddy says he wants assessments to be “less of a competition and more conversational.”
When the designs have been narrowed down to a smaller group of the SHPMC’s top picks, the individual/group’s biographies will accompany their design for a fuller scope of the entry. The number of entries making up the smaller group has not yet been determined.
When the top designs are selected, Mr Lyddy said the SHPMC will invite the families directly affected by 12/14 to privately view the prospects, if they so choose, and have a role in selecting the design.
The SHPMC will have its advisory panel review the options to give their professional opinions on the logistics of the designs.
The community will also have the opportunity to see the potential designs and offer input, the locations and dates of which will be determined at a later time.
Mr Lyddy did add that “the community will not vote on the designs; however, they will ultimately have the opportunity to speak up regarding the designs.”
Once the community and all the groups who have a role in voting have reviewed the design submissions, the SHPMC will have a follow-up meeting to discuss any feedback and winnow the design field to select the top submission.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission’s next public meeting will be on Thursday, November 9, at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street. Questions can be sent to the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.