The Newtown Board of Selectmen has accepted a $2.5 million state grant for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial. The State Bond Commission approved the funding in July 2021.
At their meeting, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said considering the fact that they're fairly far along in the process, he's glad the funding has come through. Newtown Finance Director Bob Tait went back and forth with the state for a few months trying to figure out which department owned the grant. Now that it's been established, the Board accepting the funding is the first step in getting the money released.
Rosenthal notes that the delay hasn't stymied the process, but the town appreciates getting the money the state offered for the project. The $3.7 million project was approved by Newtown voters in April 2021.
Construction of the project began last summer, just down the street from where the shooting occurred. The project is anticipated to be finished before the tenth anniversary in December. The five-acre site is designed to include a central water feature, along with a sycamore tree in the center with the victims’ names engraved on a supporting wall.
The design was chosen from among 190 submissions sent in from around the country. The water flow has been designed so floatable candles, flowers and other objects will move toward the tree and circle around it. Pathways will take visitors through a variety of plantings, including flower gardens. SWA Group designed the memorial. Associate principal Daniel Affleck says they wanted to create a place that was quiet, a place of reflection. He says the design will be a place where people can come to connect to nature, see the seasonality, the changes, and the reflection of the passage of time.