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The American Civic Association Memorial project, planned to commemorate the lives lost in the April 3, 2009 shooting at the civic center in Downtown Binghamton, has recently reached $110,000 of its $200,000 goal in donations for construction of the memorial.

According to ACA Memorial Committee Coordinator David Marsland, the Memorial Fund has received several large donations from establishments in the Binghamton area.

‘People step forward every week with different levels of donations,’ Marsland said.

According to Marsland, Dick’s Sporting Goods donated $1,000 to the fund. The fund has also received donations from Binghamton’s Mee Foundation, the Firefighters Benevolent Association Local 729, employees at the local Coughlin & Gerhart law firm and an anonymous philanthropist.

‘We continue to talk to foundations and individuals who might be philanthropically inclined,’ he said. ‘When it comes to campus, we’d like to get together with the student body in some meaningful way ‘ do some event where the students could participate: a walk-a-thon, a fund drive; we’d be happy to get involved.’

Although construction of the memorial itself will not begin until the fund has reached its goal of $200,000, the ACA Memorial Committee has made progress with various architects, creative designers and construction companies to work out the design for the memorial. According to Marsland, the ACA Memorial Committee will soon send out an RSVP for artists to see who will bid on the project.

‘[It’s] all on standby. We don’t want to start anything tangible until we’ve reached our goal,’ Marsland said. ‘We can do blueprints and plans, and we can talk to artists and get tips on the major parts of the work, but the way this kind of thing comes together, you have to make sure that the granite for the base column is from one place and the glass is from somewhere else ‘ all the pieces have to match, and you do that with planning. You don’t try to rush installation until everything’s been set.’

According to Madeleine Cotts, lead architect for the ACA Memorial, of Bearsch Compeau Knudson Architects and Engineers, PC in Binghamton, symbolism is key in the memorial’s design.

‘The centerpiece is a broken column, which is a symbol that came from the families. It represents a life cut short, and also is not representative of one ethnicity or culture, but can relate to many,’ Cotts said.

In addition, the memorial will include an inner glass center with nine sides to represent the nine different languages spoken by the victims, which will be internally lit so as to glow at night. Furthermore, 13 glass birds will be mounted on poles all around in order to symbolize the 13 people that were killed.

Cotts hopes that with funding going well, construction can begin in spring 2011 and finish that summer.

‘The [victims’] families all along wanted to make this a community asset that people will want to go, not just a memorial of sad memory,’ Cotts said. ‘It will include a park and an area to sit on the benches and enjoy it. We hope the people who contributed to help a beautiful thing happen for the community will feel involved and have a sense of ownership.’

Donations for the ACA Memorial can be sent to 38 Hawley St., Binghamton, NY 13901, with ‘ACA Memorial Park Fund’ written in the memo section of the check. All donations are tax-deductible.