Las Vegas Comes Together To Build ‘Healing Garden’ In Memory Of Shooting Victims

Over a thousand people donated time, money or materials to the project.

Volunteers across the city of Las Vegas came together this week to transform an empty lot into a place of reflection and tranquility as the city continues to mourn and recover from what is being called the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.



Just a week earlier, the lot at 1015 S. Casino Center was a barren, sandy lot almost five miles away from the Las Vegas Strip. The quarter-acre of land had been set aside to be a dog park until local landscaper Jay Pleggenkuhle called the city attorney's office with an idea. 

Per The Arizona Republic, Pleggenkuhle had been thinking about how he could use his landscaping expertise to help the city's grieving process, and the thing he kept coming back to was a garden. To him, a garden is "a source of life."

As Pleggenkuhle sketched a plan and started to make arrangements, other companies started calling to ask what they could do to help. Two nurseries donated plants and trees. Businesses donated equipment and labor. Magicians Siegfried and Roy gave an oak tree that now stands with a heart-shaped bench around it and has become a focal point of a garden. 

And volunteers started showing up at the site, ready to donate their time and wanting to find a way to connect with their city after the tragedy. 

"The people here are just amazing," Lyle Hoffman, a Las Vegas native and construction worker who volunteered at the site Thursday told Las Vegas Weekly. "This is a labor of love for me, and I'm pouring my heart into it. We've had the 'Sin City' name for a long time, and I just hope that people see we are a city of love."

According to The Arizona Republic, more than a thousand people donated their time, money or materials to help build the garden. One student at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas brought his fraternity to the site. One volunteer had already donated blood and helped organized a demonstration in support of gun regulation in the community. Many found that after they came to help once, they kept coming back. 

"One of the main intentions in doing this garden project wasn't necessarily the end result, but just the process," Pleggenkuhle said. "Bringing the community together to work together and to do something that would create joy and beauty instead of destruction."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the "Healing Garden" was held Friday. At the event, the "Remembrance Wall" was already affixed with letters and photos of the 58 parents, children and friends who died in the shooting last week. The area is dedicated to their memory. 

"I wish you could see from here who you are," Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said at the dedication ceremony. "You come from all walks of life. You're all ages. We're all colors. We're all religions. But it's because each of us cares about each other that this act will not define who we are."  

(H/T: Mashable)

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