Remembrance Garden dedicated to survivors and victims of I-35W Bridge collapse

With survivors and family of those killed in the Interstate 35W Bridge collapse on hand, the City of Minneapolis officially dedicated a Remembrance Garden to the lives affected by the Aug. 1, 2007 disaster.

"On that terrible day four years ago, we made a promise that we would build this memorial so that we would never forget. Today, this Remembrance Garden becomes part of the fabric of our city and ensures that we will always remember," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

"The memorial dedicated to those who were lost, those who survived and those who responded with compassion. But it is also a monument to our city’s sustained compassion over many years that made this memorial possible and makes our life together meaningful.

"This garden is our common ground," Mayor Rybak concluded.

Built on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the Remembrance Garden includes 13 steel pillars — each carrying the name of a person killed etched in the beam’s glass face. Behind the beams is a stone wall inscribed with 171 names of survivors of the bridge collapse, and a sheet of water flows quietly over the wall’s polished surface. The 13 beams span a length of 81 feet, which references the date — 8/1 — on which the 35W bridge collapsed in 2007. A path leads from the fountain to the edge of the bluff, where an observation deck lets visitors view the river and glimpse the new bridge through the trees. At night, the memorial is illuminated in blue light.

The survivor wall features a quote that was crafted by survivors and the loved ones of those who were lost: "Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the fact of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events."

The steps of the Remembrance Garden carry a dedication: "This garden is dedicated to those who were lost, those who survived, and those who responded with heroism and humanity — to all those whose lives were forever changed at 6:05 p.m. on August 1, 2007."

The dedication came on the fourth anniversary of the 2007 disaster. The dedication ceremony concluded with a moment of silence that was observed at 6:05 p.m.

Minneapolis worked closely with survivors and family members to establish a location and plan for a memorial to remember the victims of the I-35W Bridge collapse. Designed by the architecture firm Oslund and Associates, the $900,000 Remembrance Garden is being paid for through a fund set up as part of a negotiated settlement between the survivors and families of bridge collapse victims and URS Corporation. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board provided the park land.

Aug. 3, 2011

Published Aug. 3, 2011