The Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved providing space in the Historic Pima County Courthouse downtown and in adjacent El Presidio Park for a permanent memorial that will recognize the tragedy of three years ago, honor those affected, and celebrate the spirit of hope and unity that followed.
“This will be an important project that will touch all of us in many important ways,” said Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías, speaking at a press conference Monday to unveil the proposed site west of the historic courthouse.
The Board resolved to support the Jan. 8th Memorial Foundation’s efforts, noting that the courthouse and the park serve as a regional gathering place for civic and cultural events and provide civic connections to governments across all levels.
Stephen Brigham, president of the January 8th Memorial Foundation, called the site “a great opportunity, given that January 8, 2011, was about Congress on your Corner – an act of local democracy horrifically interrupted.” While other sites serve as important vigil spaces – including the lawn in front of University of Arizona Medical Center, the Safeway store where the shooting took place, or former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ office, Brigham said those sites were not ideal for a permanent memorial.
Noting that the historic courthouse and park connect to County Administration, City Hall, and the courts, with state and federal offices nearby, Brigham said the memorial will serve “as a catalyst for connecting all of these places together.”
With the site secured, the Foundation will be able to start fundraising and then will work with the Tucson-Pima Arts Council to put together a request for qualifications to select a design team to create the vision for the memorial space.
Pam Simon, a Foundation member and former Giffords staff member who was wounded in the shooting, invited the community to be part of the project by visiting january8memorial.org. “There’s a way to take part, whether through donations, volunteering or sharing ideas. This is the beginning and I look forward to a future press conference at this same site when a very special place created by the time, treasure and talent of Tucson is unveiled.”