Mourners, classmates and friends of the four Santa Fe teenagers killed in the June 28 car accident gathered on Wednesday, July 8 afternoon at Cathedral Park, where a makeshift memorial for the teens had been furnished on and around the park's central monument. Members of the city council and community were on hand to discuss future plans for a more permanent memorial.
The crowd swelled as city councilman Carmichael Dominguez began to speak about the status of the impromptu shrine, the damage it has done to the flagstone, and possible compromises between the city and those wishing to share public condolences.
Dominguez first expressed the sadness that the whole community has felt in the wake of the tragedy and his interest in hearing from and coming to solutions with those who have contributed to the memorial.
However, he made clear that there could be no permanent shrine to the lost students in Cathedral Park. To that end, the city will begin removing objects and writing found on and around the monument this week.
Dominguez stressed, though, that nothing would be taken down until it could be documented, and encouraged everyone to take pictures and move items to Warehouse 21, the newly designated location of a temporary memorial, as he and other council members worked on a resolution to provide a permanent memorial elsewhere. Dominguez allowed that flowers, notes and pictures would still be allowed at the monument until the Warehouse 21 site is set up, which he hoped would be by Sunday.
Warehouse 21 executive director Ana Maria Gallegos y Reinhardt was also present and spoke of possible plans for a mural dedicated to the victims on the Warehouse's west-side wall. A meeting is scheduled for noon on Saturday at Warehouse 21 to discuss plans for the temporary memorial. Several council members plan to attend.
The students and others who came to voice their opinions were positive about the plans laid out by Dominguez and Gallegos y Reinhardt. Eros Salvatore, who is currently working on a documentary exploring teen grief, had heard Friday about plans to take the memorial down and worked with local teens in calling the Santa Fe City Manager's Office to delay the action. Salvatore and others were able to meet with members of the city council on Tuesday, which led to the discussion at Cathedral Park. Salvatore is now confident in working with the city to bring about a permanent memorial.
All those who spoke, including many local teenagers, expressed hope that everyone would remain respectful of Cathedral Park and its monument. The overwhelming sentiment was that a permanent memorial could serve not only to shine a light on the four students who were lost but also on the larger issues surrounding drunk driving in New Mexico.