Plans for Hyatt skywalk memorial move forward - KCTV5

Plans for Hyatt skywalk memorial move forward

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

It has been more than 30 years since the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse, and there is still no official memorial for the 114 victims killed.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation held a fundraiser Wednesday night, hoping to come closer to their big goal.

The gathering was a leaping-off point for fundraising by social networking, to finally bring a monument to a nearby park.

It also brought out some survivors who met memorial organizers face-to-face for the first time.

Survivor Leonard Rose plans to use his story to encourage others to give.

"I laid underneath that stuff for four-and-a-half hours," Rose said.

He attended the fateful 1981 tea dance with his wife and her family. All three of their guests died.

"We lost more family members than anyone else in that catastrophe. My wife's sister, her husband, and his sister," he said.

It was the first social event for Megan Michael too. She lost both of her parents in the collapse.

"I wanted to come tonight to speak to everybody on the board to speak face-to-face and see what I can do," Michael said.

On display at the gathering was a rendering of the memorial, intended for Hospital Hill Park at East 22nd Street and Gillham Road, a design scaled down from the original plan.

Gone is the plan to have 114 pinpoints of light in the ground, one for each victim.  Instead, a lighted pedestal will have the names etched upon it.

"When you look at the overall project, the theme has remained the same, but there were some things we had to take a hard look at," said Brent Wright, who lost his mother and stepfather and now heads the board of the Skywalk Memorial Fund.

But they are still $200,000 shy of making the memorial a reality, and that is something people like Rose and Michael plan to change.

"We want time to stop going by. We want this to happen and get people involved," Michael said.

There have been a lot of people involved, and it has helped tremendously that the artists and multiple businesses, from construction to engineering, have donated their services.

But before they can break ground, they need to have a cash endowment in place for maintenance, so cash is still key.

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