LITTLETON, Colo. — Mother Nature has taken its toll on a monument that honors the lives lost in a Colorado tragedy.
The Columbine Memorial is beginning to show some wear and tear, and the Columbine Memorial Foundation is trying to raise money for repairs.
The memorial broke ground in 2006 and includes a wall of water, an inner Ring of Remembrance and an outer Ring of Healing. There is a station for each of the 13 victims.
“There is an innocence here,” said Don Kozyra, who has visited the memorial four times. “It’s a very peaceful place.”
Kara Hlavnicka brought her young son to see the memorial. She attended Platte Canyon High School, another Colorado school that has experienced gun violence.
“We actually came to see if the water (fountain) was on today and realized it was not,” Hlavnicka said. “I know we’re getting to that season where they turn off the water, but it would be great. The water plays a huge part in this.”
In addition to a water feature that needs maintenance, memorial visitors are noticing missing stonework, deep cracks in the sidewalk and even vandalism. Many of the memorial plaques have lost their shine from being out in the elements.
“I’ve been in maintenance for almost 40 years, now retired,” Kozyra said. “And you can pay a little now or you can pay a lot later on… you need to maintain everything.”
It’s obvious the memorial is important to people beyond Colorado.
Shay Jorgenson visited the memorial with a friend on Friday. Jorgenson is from South Dakota.
“When I told my friends in South Dakota that I was going to visit the memorial, they were like, ‘we remember it as if it happened yesterday. Take pictures. We want to see pictures. We want to see the memorial. We want to see what they’ve done for those kids,” she said.
The Memorial Foundation estimated the cost for annual repairs and maintenance at more than $10,000.
Anyone wanted to contribute, can do so via a PayPal link on the Columbine Memorial Foundation’s website: http://www.columbinememorial.org/default.asp