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Weston Parks Committee Approves Memorial Site

WSAU radio

A permanent memorial to those lost in the March 22nd, 2017 shooting incident in the Wausau area will soon be placed in Weston's Kennedy Park.

The Village's Parks and Recreation Committee approved the placement of the memorial unanimously during Monday's meeting.

Cassandra Ambrosius helped organize the memorial and the annual Run to Remember, says the location is appropriate for several reasons. "Obviously, it's very central to the communities that were touched, also the candlelight vigil was held there right after the shooting as well." Additionally, the park is located along the Run to Remember route, allowing it to be incorporated into the event. "They won't be able to see it this race, because the ground will be too cold for installment, but [hopefully] for the 3rd run they can go past it," she said.

The four-sided pillar design features a panel dedicated to each of the victims along with a glass bowl on top to provide an "eternal flame" illusion. Ambrosius says each of the victim's families was consulted in the design phase to personalize their side.

Former Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks, who now serves on the Village Board of Trustees, said he was honored to vote the proposal forward. "It was a life-changing event for a lot of people in this community, so the fact that we are able to recognize and memorialize those that were lost and those that were impacted, I think is really important for our community." "The big thing you take away from this is how well the community responded and how the community came together to support the victims and those impacted. It really speaks well of the community that we are fortunate enough to live in," he added.

The shooting incident took the lives of Detective Jason Weiland, Dianne Look, Karen Barclay, and Sara Quirt Sann. The measure now goes on to the full village board for approval. Details such as the exact placement of the memorial and an installation timeline have not been addressed. Acting Administrator Keith Donner and Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent Shawn Osterbrink said they may like to see it closer to a streetlight to discourage vandalism. They also discussed what insurance may need to be carried on the structure if it is vandalized. Ambrosius says an exact installation timeline and dedication has not been announced.

When the memorial is dedicated, Sparks says he plans to be a part of the ceremony in some way. "It was the most challenging thing I've ever had to deal with in my career, and definitely the most impactful. There's few words to really describe it," he added.

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