City/Park Board looking at new 35W Bridge memorial sites

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July 19, 2010 // UPDATED 9:59 am - July 30, 2010
By: Jake Weyer
Jake Weyer

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly implied that Gold Medal Park was no longer an option for the memorial.  

Plans for a long-anticipated memorial to the victims of the Aug. 1, 2007 collapse of the I-35W Bridge could be moved from leased land at Gold Medal Park to permanent parkland near the river.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved a motion at its July 21 meeting to work with Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, representatives of victims and donors to find a “suitable location” for the memorial. At least one potential site is a plot of land near 11th Avenue and West River Parkway.  

Interim Park Board Superintendent David Fisher said he recently walked the area with representatives from the memorial’s architecture firm, Oslund and Associates. Because of the new site’s parameters, the design could change to something more long and linear with an overlook, he said. The current design for the “remembrance garden” features a low, circular, bubbling fountain surrounded by 13 pillars representing the people who lost their lives when the bridge crashed into the Mississippi River.

Alternatives to Gold Medal Park are being considered because the city and Guthrie Theater own that property and its use could potentially change. Rybak approached the Park Board about the move. He said the project always has been and will continue to be led by the victims’ families.

“Everything remains on the table,” he said.

The possible move to permanent parkland was well received by the Park Board, which supported the idea unanimously.

“This is a tragedy that happened on and over adjoining parkland,” said Park Board President John Erwin. “I think it’s appropriate for [the memorial] to go on land that can stay a park forever.”