CIty Council to review memorial project at Central Park honoring Saugus High shooting victims

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

In their first meeting of the new year, Santa Clarita City Council members are expected to review a proposed memorial project at Central Park that would honor the two students who died during the Saugus High School shooting. 

On Nov. 14, 2019, when Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Michael Blackwell died after a shooter opened fire on his fellow classmates at the school and then turned the weapon on himself, students, faculty and staff evacuated to Central Park to reunite with their loved ones. Thousands returned to the park on Nov. 17, 2019, to grieve the victims. 

After multiple meetings city staff had with the families of Muehlberger and Blackwell, the proposed memorial includes “two 11-foot obelisks — with murals on each side made from tiny mosaic tiles — to memorialize the two victims of the event, surrounded by seating areas to observe the memorials and space for intimate reflection, shaded by existing tree canopies,” according to a city agenda report. 

To view the proposed designs, visit the agenda here.

The plan suggests including colors and graphics that represent things the two students liked. Muehlberger’s obelisk, for example, proposes to have angel wings, hearts, coffee, her dog and an image of the St. Louis Cardinals logo. Blackwell’s would include an image of him in his JROTC uniform, and graphics of Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob Squarepants” and Pixar Animation’s “WALL-E.” 

If approved, the families have agreed to pay for the design, construction and installation of the obelisks, while the city would be responsible for the surrounding site construction. The total cost for landscaping and grading work totals $96,000. Various local agencies and businesses have offered the city pro bono work or contributions to the project, and the city would then pay $40,000 from contingency funds for project construction, according to the agenda report. 

The memorial project comes after Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board members approved in December designating the names of the victims at Central Park by adding “In Memoriam of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell” onto the base of the west monument sign located at the entrance of the park, which currently has signage of the city and the water agency, along Bouquet Canyon Road. 

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