By Abbey Niezgoda
After nearly 10 years, the owner of The Station nightclub is donating the land so a permanent memorial can be built. Paperwork was filed at the West Warwick Town Hall Friday morning to transfer the land to The Station Memorial Foundation.
Up until this point, the land on Cowesett
Avenue has been filled with wooden crosses as part of a makeshift memorial. Friends and family of the 100 victims have been fighting for ownership so something more permanent can be placed on the site.
The landlord's lawyer, Dan McKiernan, held up the deed at the news conference. He would not say why it took so long for his client to get to this point, only that he is trying to heal too.
"It was an incredible feeling," Gina Russo of The Station Fire Foundation said. "To know that the lines of communication are finally open."
For friends, family and survivors, the grief does not go away, but the news brings new emotion.
"I think this is the first time in a long time I've
actually had a smile on my face at this site," Michael Kaczmarczyk said.
It puts to rest almost a decade worth of controversy and clears the way to replace the weathered memories with something that will last.
The foundation says they will need $5 million to build the memorial and to maintain it. They hope to unveil an official design for it in time for the 10th anniversary in February.