Memorial pending for SHS shooting victims at Central Park

Residents stand around the memorial set up at the Central Park flag pole at the Saugus Strong Vigil in 2019. Signal file photo.
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Plans to append Central Park’s name and add a memorial at the park to honor the victims of the Saugus High School shooting are underway, officials confirmed Friday. 

On Aug. 25, the Santa Clarita City Council approved modifying the name to “Central Park — In Memoriam of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell.” To make it official, however, the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency must provide its consent.

An ad hoc committee made up of agency board members was recently formed, and is still considering whether to approve appending the name, according to committee chairman Bill Cooper. The board’s role in the decision process is due to ownership of the park property, he said. 

“The water agency owns the land that Central Park is built on. We leased the land to the city,” said Cooper. “We put in the lease agreement that the water agency was to have final approval on all signage, including the name of the park.” 

The name addition is proposed to go onto the monument located at the entrance of the park, which currently has signage of the city and the water agency. Committee members are expected to meet with city officials to discuss their suggestions, which includes their concerns to keep signage so that “people that are coming for business to the water agency know where to turn,” said Cooper.  

With that information, the committee would report back to the board on Dec. 1, according to agency spokeswoman Kathie Martin. 

Derek Diaz, 16, left, and Mia Tretta, 15, hand lemonade to Saugus High School students during a fundraiser to memorialize Dominic Blackwell and Gracie Muehlberger which was held at the Walgreens Drug Store in Santa Clarita on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

In addition to appending the park name, families of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell are working with the city to add a separate memorial potentially near the entrance of the park. 

“We’re working on the landscaping design and such and the city is going to take care of that,” said Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who said she’s working closely with the families. “The parents are working with someone to come up with a design for the memorial for each of the children.” 

Preliminary designs depict two, 12-foot obelisks with mosaic tile, according to Bryan Muehlberger, Gracie’s father.

“It’ll have a bunch of imagery on (the obelisks) that represent Dominic on one and Gracie on the other,” he said.

Depending on planning and a decision by the City Council, McLean said the project could be completed by April 2021.   

Saugus High survivor and sophomore Mia Tretta, 15, and senior Derek Diaz, 16, presented the city in September a $6,400 check for a memorial after selling lemonade during the summer. 

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