BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Work went on for hours Tuesday as volunteer museum experts helped remove memorabilia, flowers, and messages along the chain link fence in front of King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive. The site became a powerful place of memory of the 10 killed in the March 22nd mass shooting.
“You could feel the weight when you took it off and someone thought about putting it there,” said John Briggs, Boulder resident and volunteer.
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They removed flowers. Many of the tried and tested and rotten ones are composted. Others that appear intact go to artists to use.
Boulder is still wondering what to do in the long term to commemorate the victims of the shooting. The city will work with victims’ families, the community, and King Soopers, among others, to explore the possibilities.
A permanent memorial is likely up to two years away. The location where it will be placed also needs to be determined in this process.
“It was pretty hard,” Briggs said of the emotional toll of removing all of the things that were tied to the fences and placed along the sidewalk.
“That goes to the museum. And so it will be there for those who come after us, ”said Corrine Haslett from the neighborhood, while she carefully removed jewelry and tiny cuddly toys that were tied to the fence.
“They are very sensitive and respectful because they are their King Soopers,” said Chelsea Pennington Hahn, curator of collections at the Museum of Boulder. “This is their neighborhood and they really want to treat things with respect.”
She organized and sorted among the thousands of things. Some were moved to the library basement across the street due to temporary shortages. One day they might be exhibited as a piece of city history.
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“It affected the church in such a raw way. And that’s definitely a challenge for the curator to figure out how that fits in with the rest of the story. There are many other tragedies in our history where we have some historical distance to look back on. Of course we haven’t yet, ”said Pennington Hahn.
The fence is pulled back and covered with a cloth with the message “Boulder Strong” being part of the community’s recreation. The shop, now with a more permanent cover at the front, remains closed.
King Soopers plans to redesign it and reopen it in late fall.
A small temporary flower installation will be placed on the west side of the development on the site. The public is urged to remove and take away flowers provided by King Soopers. It will only be open between June 16-19.
The work of removing all the memorabilia was hampered by rain late Tuesday. The museum and volunteers planned to be back at work on Wednesday. A source of comfort will disappear.
“It’s very, very healing,” Haslett said of how the spontaneous memorial helped.
Briggs gathered other items and noticed how moving it was to see some of them, even the little things.
“When you walk past the photos of the people and there are of course the crosses … For the woman who made the food cart, someone made a carrot and put it on top. It was very touching. “
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King Soopers has said it would seek thoughtful contributions to redesign the store. You can provide feedback by emailing [email protected]