Lewis Diuguid

July 16, 2014

Memorial for skywalk victims long overdue in 1981 disaster

A memorial for the 114 persons killed and more than 200 others injured is planned for a site in Hospital Hill Park at 22rd Street and Gillham Road in Kansas City. So far pledges, cash and in-kind donations amount to about $383,000.

The name of the hotel has changed, but the memory of the July 17, 1981, skywalks disaster in Kansas City should never be forgotten.

It was on that Friday evening 33 years ago at a popular tea dance attended by hundreds in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel that the skywalks with people on them collapsed, killing 114 and injuring more than 200 others. A memorial is long overdue.

One is planned for a site in Hospital Hill Park at 22rd Street and Gillham Road. So far pledges, cash and in-kind donations amount to about $383,000, The Kansas City Star reports.

That’s great. The goal of the Skywalk Memorial Foundation is about $546,000, which includes a maintenance endowment required by the city.

The memorial is for those who died, people who survived and the rescue personnel who rushed to the scene and worked through the night to aid victims of the disaster. Because mistakes were made in the design and construction of the skywalks, the disaster resulted in engineering and construction industry changes so that such disasters like that will never happen again.

Foundation board members have invited people who want to learn more to join a gathering from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17 at La Bodega, 703 Southwest Blvd. People also can visit www.skywalkmemorial.org or the foundation’s Facebook page.

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