Kansas City has several memorials honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, but none the kind of quiet spot where families, friends and colleagues can visit to reflect on their loss.
The Kansas City Council voted unanimously Thursday to contribute $600,000 toward creation of a memorial garden paying tribute to all local, state and federal officers in Kansas City who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The money is intended to attract private donations for the memorial, to be located on 3.5 acres of city-owned land near the Shoal Creek Patrol Division and the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in Clay County. The total cost is estimated at between $3 million and $4 million dollars.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to honor lives lost in the line of duty,” said Councilwoman Heather Hall, the sponsor of the measure, who is married to a Kansas City police officer.
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The city has a statue honoring its fallen in front of police headquarters on Locust Street. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99, the union for Kansas City police, has a memorial display at its headquarters, and there is a state memorial in Jefferson City.
The design of the new project is under wraps until the March 1 kickoff of the fundraising campaign, to be led by a private non-profit, the Kansas City Police Officers Memorial Foundation.
But city architect Eric Bosch told the council’s finance and governance committee Wednesday that plans call for the names of officers to be engraved on granite stones. Visitors will be able to follow a trail that ends with the overlook of a grassy meadow.
“It’s going to be a very nice place to go,” Bosch said.
The $600,000 will come from funds raised by the 1-cent sales tax for capital improvements. About $4 million a year is allocated to each of the six council districts for neighborhood projects recommended by the 13-member Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC). Two members are appointed from each district and a chairperson is named by the mayor.
Districts 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 have set aside money over the next two years for the memorial. District 3 PIAC representative Ron Finley said Thursday that district did not receive a proposal for funds.