The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has held a meeting to start talking about the budget for the project. There was no spending cap put in place before, so that a design wouldn't be chosen by price, but rather by what spoke to the group. The Commission includes the parents of three children killed on 12-14.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal told the group at their latest meeting that he informed designers SWA group that there is a $4 million target for the memorial in the Capital Improvement Plan, which has yet to be voted on by residents. SWA came up with three designs to fit the scope of that budget. The original design would have been between $10 million to $12 million. A commission member suggested that fundraise and reach out to those who offered services and materials, in order to maintain the integrity of the project.
Tricia Pinto, whose son Jack was a Sandy Hook student, noted that none of the options have a bridge and questioned if it was feasible to add back in. JoAnn Bacon, whose daughter Charlotte was also at the school, feels the three options are no longer what they voted on. While the main water feature is intact, the intricate walkways are not. She says they were symbolic and that without the bridge, the design doesn't have the impact it originally did. Brian Engel, who lost his daughter Olivia, says the options are helpful. He was concerned about the design budget during the selection process, but acknowledged that not setting a budget was done purposely. He asked if there was state or federal aid available to help clean the ponds.
There was discussion of removing the pavilion in order to restore the bridge feature. There was also talk of having different security fencing.
The group's next meeting is May 9th.