WAUKESHA, Wis. — The Waukesha Parade Memorial Commission decided on three different memorials to honor the lives lost and the lives forever changed by the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy.
Originally, the commission was looking for two memorial designs, one for Grede Park and one for Main Street.
Two of the designs chosen are by Thrive Architects. The third is by Carmen De La Paz.
The largest memorial will transform a section of Grede Park into a space to reflect and remember those lost. The Heart of Unity concept designed by Thrive Architects features a heart sculpture in the center and is angled towards Main Street. The memorial will also have six trees surrounding the heart, honoring each of the lives lost. The memorial will be visible from Main Street.
The commission did add that they would like to see more natural elements included in the final design at Grede Park.
They also voted to approve the Carmen de La Paz design for Grede Park. The design of two hands holding a heart was originally intended for Main Street, but the commission decided they liked it better as a "welcome" to the park.
The memorial for Main Street, along the parade route, was also designed by Thrive Architects. The memorial combines concrete, metal, and acrylic to form the "Waukesha Strong" heart.
The entire community was able to weigh in on finalists for each of the memorial locations.
"In reading the comments that came from the community, the heart design should definitely be incorporated," said commission member and alderperson Alicia Halvensleben.
Tyler Pudleiner, who was injured while marching with his school's band during the parade, was at Tuesday's commission meeting. He shared his thoughts about what should be incorporated into the memorials.
"The one thing that I would kind of like to put forth into it is the amount of show towards everybody. The survivors, different groups involved. Not taking away from all we lost... I'd just like to see whatever design that we go with maybe edited or reconstructed in some way to highlight all those groups that were involved and directly impacted," Pudleiner said.
Commission members said they agreed with Pudleiner and said they'd work with the designers to make sure all were included.
The designs approved on Tuesday are just concepts. There could be some changes depending on how much money is fundraised, the final location, and other factors.
To learn more about each design, visit Waukesha's city website.
If you want to donate to the memorial fund, visit the Waukesha County Community Foundation's website.