City Council to discuss ideas to memorialize SHS shooting victims

Balloons and flowers stand in front of Saugus High School which was still closed for investigation on Friday, November 15, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Santa Clarita City Council members will consider Tuesday ideas on how to honor the victims of the Saugus High School shooting, which include appending Central Park’s name or constructing a memorial at the park or at a different location. 

The topic is set to return before the council following their agreement on July 14 to revisit the matter after their summer hiatus, when staff “researched and sent a variety of memorial ideas to the families for inspiration,” according to the city agenda report. 

On Nov. 14, when Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Michael Blackwell died after a shooter opened fire on his fellow classmates at Saugus High School, students, faculty and staff evacuated to Central Park to reunite with their loved ones. 

Families of the two students have expressed interest in having the park as the place to memorialize the victims and to create a memorial at the entrance of the park where a flag pole currently stands. 

The families also started a petition, renamecentralpark.com, to garner support for the park’s name addition to “Central Park — In Memoriam of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell,” one of the ideas the City Council will consider but which would require consultation and consent from the Santa Clarita Valley Water agency. 

Although not limited to only these, other suggestions council members will discuss include: 

  • Finding a different city park to rename. 
  • Constructing a memorial at the entrance of Central Park or at a different location within the park. 
  • Expanding the Youth Grove site at Central park and adding a separate memorial. 
  • Building a memorial as part of the future buildout project at Central Park. 

One example families presented to city staff is that of a colorful, totem-like sculpture located at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Florida. Other examples of memorials staff brought forth to families include the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Chairs, the Survivor Tree in Oklahoma City and The Wall: Las Memorias AIDS Monument at Lincoln Park in Los Angeles. 

The City Council meeting is scheduled to commence at 6 p.m. on Aug. 25.

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