West Warwick plans to build memorial plaza in honor of Matthew Dennison

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – The town of West Warwick is planning to build a memorial plaza in honor of Matthew Dennison, a teen who was killed in a crash earlier this year.

At a West Warwick Town Council meeting Tuesday night, councilors heard from contractors for the project, who discussed the current plans to build the plaza in between the West Warwick Civic Center and Benny Magiera Memorial Ice Rink.

Currently, the area between the two buildings would be revamped to include concrete walkways, a community remembrance plaza, and a Matthew Dennison monument. As well as benches, trees, and a life-size bronze memorial statue of Matt.

“The life-size statue is impressive,” Mark Knott said, West Warwick’s town manager. ” It’s very reflective, and I think this is going to be the same. It will be a nice segment for the town.”

The memorial plaza for Dennison is in the works by the Matthew Dennison Foundation, the town of West Warwick, as well as with the help of the school district and Superintendent Karen Tarasevich.

In the nearly 8 months since Dennison passed away, the community has rallied around the 17-year-old family, hosting benefit hockey games and comedy events to raise money for his family and foundation in his memory.

“It’s very heartwarming,” Knott said. “It’s nice that people are stepping up and rallying. The hockey community has been unbelievable. I never realized they were such a tight-knit group.”

Representatives for the project said there are still more phases to go in the planning process, but the plan for construction to get underway would be in spring 2023. Knott hopes to have all work done and ready to unveil to the public by next winter’s hockey season and have the memorial ready for all to see and remind every player and fan that walks by it each day to live their lives to the fullest.

“Cherish the time you have and be a good person,” Knott said. “Be inspired to show positive characteristics. I know that’s important to the Dennison family so hopefully, that will be the community rally.”

The Matthew Dennison Memorial Plaza would be paid for by a private donor.

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