The makeshift memorial on the tennis court fence is gone, and now Surfside is grappling with a thorny question: where should we build the permanent memorial for the victims of the Champlain Towers condo collapse?
Nearly three months after the Surfside tragedy, the town is grappling with a difficult question: where should a permanent memorial to the victims be located?
“It feels like salt is
being rubbed into the wound and when it’s a time to grieve,
it’s very hard to have to stand up and continue to fight to
honor the ones we lost,” said Martin Langesfeld, who lost
his sister, Nicky.
Town Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer says the land swap idea is deeply unpopular with her constituents and with her colleagues on the town commission. She said the town is committed to a memorial, and she wants to see it placed across from the collapse site.
“This is a collective pain, a collective tragedy and trauma for the whole community, and we’re gonna do what we need to do to heal from this and that includes a memorial," Salzhauer said. "Now that memorial cannot be on the site of Champlain unless the owners of Champlain want to donate a portion of that land for a memorial."
It is a money issue. If the unit owners decide collectively to carve out a piece of the land for a memorial, it could lower the sale price by millions of dollars. That option is acceptable to the Rodan and Langesfeld families.
“I’m not a judge, I’m not God, I’m a father and as a father I will move heaven and earth to see justice and to see a memorial on that site, I fight for that,” said Pablo Langesfeld, Nicky’s dad.