A memorial intended to send a message of peace, and symbolize the 13 lives cut short at the American Civic Association shooting, is set to be constructed next fall.
The memorial will be located at the southeast corner of the intersection between Front and Clinton streets in Binghamton.
The city has opted to establish a trust fund for not only the memorial itself, but the building, maintenance and upgrades to Tyler Park, which is located at the northeast corner of that intersection, as well as the surrounding area.
Through a unanimous Jan. 20 vote, the City Council approved the creation of the trust fund, said Andrew Block, director of community relations for the city of Binghamton.
Although the city is accepting personal donations, they are more interested in collaborating with local businesses to secure the funds
The design of the memorial, which is twofold, was proposed by a man who lost his wife in the shooting.
“The proposed design has a central column sheared off partway at an angle, referred to as broken column, often used to symbolize a life cut short,” said David Marsland, spokesman of the ACA Memorial Committee and project coordinator.
Marsland also lost his wife, Hong Xiu “Amy” Mao Marsland, 35, in the shooting.
The memorial commemorates the 13 people, including two BU scholars, the mother of a recent graduate and many immigrants taking classes toward citizenship, who were killed when 41-year-old Jiverly Wong opened fire April 3, 2009 at the American Civic Association on Front Street.
“We embellish that concept [of immigration] by suggesting that it [the column] is eight-sided, and on each side could be inscribed the word ‘peace’ in the native languages of those who were killed,” Marsland said. “Surrounding that will be 13 stones with names, countries of origin and birth dates [of the victims].”
At the moment, the memorial’s conceptual design is in the hands of Bearsch Compeau and Knudson (BCK) architectural firm. Although it is a worldwide firm, it has an office in Binghamton and has worked on many recent projects in the area, including the Appalachian Collegiate Center at Binghamton University and Discovery Park.
“Along with the monument, we’re going to transform the rest of the lot with a garden,” Marsland said.
Marsland emphasized that the memorial will also be a statement of gratitude to the community, including local families and companies who provided an outpouring of aid, funding and sympathy to those who were affected by the shooting.
“It makes sense to make a park where we commemorate the lives of these people as opposed to their deaths,” Marsland said. “The garden area symbolizes rejuvenation and life. All the folks who were killed were very successful people, and they all had pretty amazing back stories as I learned more about them.”
Among other sponsors, M&T Bank and the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce have partnered with the ACA Memorial Committee.
The Committee plans to break ground in September, according to the memorial’s Web site. The project should take about two months to complete.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.acamemorial.com.