The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission (SHPMC) members spent their March 9 meeting discussing the next steps they will need to take in order to create the 12/14 permanent memorial.
During the meeting, it was confirmed that SAC Field Board of Trustees officially signed the legal document to transfer over the six acre property to the Town of Newtown as a contribution. The land is intended to be utilized for the permanent memorial site, as well as the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company and the Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue.
George Benson of the Land Use Agency provided the commission members with an official initial map of the property and navigated them through what is indicated on the outline.
“We are not completely done with the process,” said Mr Benson. “We do have the map done and the agreement signed by SAC [Board of Trustees].”
The drawing included SAC Field and the surrounding area to give commission members a detailed idea of the land.
Surrounding markers like Riverside Road, the parcel of land for Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co, the parcel of land for Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue, Treadwell Park, and neighboring homes were also laid out.
Some members voiced the concern about the nearby proximity of the Riverside Road residential and commercial properties, but Mr Benson assured them that it should not be an issue. He said that part of the written land agreement included that the memorial commission can create privacy barriers.
“We have the right to build a buffer, so the entryway is buffered on both sides,” Mr Benson said.
SHPMC member Alan Martin asked, “How far is it, in terms of distance, from the park to the memorial site, roughly?”
Mr Benson said it is a steep walk and estimates that the land is about 300 yards away from Treadwell Park.
Other design aspects that were discussed were easements and parking. With the current plan layout, there will be two easements and a designated spot where a parking lot can be placed to fit about 40 cars.
“We did a conceptual where we could fit all the parking we needed,” said Mr Benson.
Ultimately, he reiterated, the Land Use Agency is not going to tell the commission how to design the memorial, but they have used their resources and indicated the best layout for certain aspects.
He ended by saying, “I think you have a lot of options.”
The map, discussed at the meeting, is just one of the first pieces to creating the permanent memorial site.
Mr Benson explained, “What we have to do now is take the document that SAC signed and go to the Planning and Zoning Commission on March 16. That’s the first step, because the town has to accept it.”
Once that process takes place, Mr Benson said that he will survey the land and ponds in the spring.
The SHPMC detailed additional meetings that will take place now that the land is officially being transferred to the town.
The timeline of tentative dates include a March 20 Board of Selectman meeting where First Selectman Pat Llodra will be able to formally recommend the Board of Selectman acquire the property. On April 5, the Legislative Council will have the authorization of the acquisition on its meeting’s agenda.
SHPMC chair Kyle Lyddy explained, “There’s a lot within the next three weeks.”
Further dates for submitting a design, the group’s outreach to other individuals and groups, and the final selection process are still fluid, but a handout was distributed to members as a guideline draft. The design outreach and selection process is set to take place through the end of July.
The commission discussed specific resources to follow up with for their next stages including First Selectman Pat Llodra, Jim Ryan of the Conservation Commission and group LMC, George Benson and Rob Sibley of the Land Use Agency, Service Project Manager Geralyn Hoerauf of STV-DPM, the Newtown Police Commission, and the 26 families, for their feedback.
Mr Lyddy emphasized that even though they reached out to the families directly affected by 12/14 two to three years ago at the beginning stages of the process, they want to communicate with them that their insight for submitting a design and incorporating it into the final stages of the memorial are important.
“I do want to make sure [that in] our communication with the families we mention to them that, as always, whoever wants to participate in this process can reach out to us,” said Mr Lyddy.
The SHPMC is in the process of deciding if it will establish a specific location for design ideas and donations to be sent.
To contact the commission, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission meeting is scheduled for April 13.