LAS VEGAS — Less than three days after Sunday’s mass shooting that left 58 dead, landscape architects were busy Wednesday with other contractors, volunteers and city workers scrambling to complete a new, permanent memorial to honor the victims.
“You see people that have never met any of these victims donating trees, donating plants, donating their time, their effort, whatever it is that it takes — the outpouring of the generosity of this community is overwhelming,” said Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic, who lost one of his co-workers, Cameron Robinson of St. George, in the attack.
The idea was hatched Monday by two landscape architects who believed the city needed such a space.
“We liked the idea of a park, a memorial park or a prayer garden,” said Jay Pleggenkuhle, owner of Stonerose Landscapes.
The landscapers phoned Jerbic on Monday, and by Tuesday construction was underway on the city-owned lot near 3rd Street and Charleston Boulevard.
“From there, it just sort of rolled, you know,” Pleggenkuhle said. “The big tree was donated by Siegfried (Fischbacher) and Roy (Horn). They’re huge supporters of the community.”
Jerbic said that tree was being referred to as the “tree of life.”
“It’s deliberately a tree that will lose its leaves,” Jerbic said. “It’s an oak tree. And there are a lot of oak trees around town, but they’re called, ‘living oaks.’ They don’t lose their leaves. This one will. So every spring, it will replenish itself as kind of a symbol of what we need to do with ourselves.”
A total of 58 trees were being planted Wednesday, representing the 58 victims of the mass shooting.
Pleggenkuhle said a prayer wall was also being constructed.
Numerous contractors donated time, effort and materials to the project.
“It was really important for us,” said Jay Austin, territory manager for Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply, which contributed much of the water infrastructure to the property.
Judy Navarrete, vice president of operations for Star Nursery, was painting lettering with her co-workers Wednesday morning.
“This will be a memory and long-lasting and hopefully will help them heal,” Navarrete said. “We’re hoping for it. We all need a little bit of healing.”
Jerbic said the plan was to have the memorial completed by Friday night’s “First Friday” arts festival, with a dedication slated for 7:30 p.m.
Long-time resident and artist John Pacheco, whose studio sits nearby, said it was “something else” to see the community come together so quickly on the memorial.
“For a town like that to come together so strong, it’s awesome,” Pacheco said. “They’re busting it out there.”
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