A slatted wood wall in downtown Las Vegas has been the landing place for an outpouring of emotion over the last seven months.
A smiling, close-up photo of Las Vegas shooting victim Heather Alvarado hangs on the wall in a frame ringed with messages written in different handwriting: “Love you wifey,” and “I love you mommy.”
It’s one of many pictures and messages that hang next to crosses, dream catchers and other mementos on the temporary remembrance wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden downtown.
Plans call for the wall to be replaced by a more elaborate, permanent remembrance wall dedicated to the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.
The wall came about organically, as people looked for a place to reflect while volunteers built the garden in the days after the Oct. 1 shooting, said Jay Pleggenkuhle, who designed the garden.
“We needed a place where people could post, write notes, grieve and share stories,” Pleggenkuhle said.
Renderings of the new wall show five separate pieces standing at differing heights with backlit text and memorial plaques, arranged in a half-circle next to the garden’s “tree of life.”
Get Outdoors Nevada Executive Director Mauricia Baca said the group, which is contracting with the city for ongoing maintenance at the garden, needs to raise $150,000 for the permanent wall.
Local philanthropist Gard Jameson has donated $25,000 to the effort, and said Wednesday that the valley’s billionaires and multimillionaires should “step up” their giving to community projects like the healing garden.
“There’s a lot of money here,” Jameson said.
The garden sits on a piece of city property on Casino Center Boulevard. The city launched a Community Healing Fund last year to maintain the garden and public art created in the wake of the shooting. The fund is being managed by the nonprofit Nevada Community Foundation.
Events at the garden since its dedication have drawn hundreds of people, and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she expects it will remain a fixture.
“It will be there for generations to come, I’m sure,” Goodman said.