Stoneman Douglas memorials to be preserved, historian says

Committee to meet Friday to discuss how to begin process

By Roy Ramos - Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. - The Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting is a sad and tragic day in South Florida's history, but it's an important one, which is why steps are being made to preserve some of the memorials.

Messages of hope and love cover the fence outside of the Parkland high school, and the makeshift memorial that began the day 17 people were killed continues to grow.  

"You are reminded that there is still such beauty in this world and you see it right here," actress Shannen Doherty said.

Doherty visited students in class Thursday before taking the time to walk along the pictures, Parkland Strong posters, consoling poems, crosses, Stars of David and flowers left to memorialize students and teachers who lost their lives in the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

"When I walk this and see the memorial as it is, how beautiful it is, the outpouring of love and support," Doherty said.

Ilita Temple, whose grandson attends Stoneman Douglas, visited a separate memorial Thursday at Pines Trail Park, which has 17 angels. But as the days go on, she is noticing messages beginning to fade, which she hopes will never happen with the memories of the victims

"I don't know what they are going to do with all this. I think it is beautiful, but I know it can't stay here," she said.

Jeff Schwartz, president of the Historical Society for the city of Parkland, said he is part of a committee composed of school board members and religious, community and city leaders that is working to come up with ways of preserving the items.  

He said the memorials will likely be placed in breathable boxes and stored in an air conditioned building. 

"We are doing it for the families' benefit," Schwartz said. "We want to preserve it so people in the future will know what took place in our city."

The historian said they will focus on removing the items at Pine Trails Park first, because the principal and students just aren't ready to see the memorial removed from their school just yet. The committee will meet at Parkland City Hall at 9 a.m. Friday to discuss how to begin the process.

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