PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – The makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is going to be moved away and properly cared for.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, between 30 and 40 volunteers will help gather and catalog pieces of the memorial before being stored at Florida Atlantic University until plans for a museum can move forward.
Visitors continue to stop by Stoneman Douglas to pay their respects to the 17 victims of last month’s shooting.
“We intend to do it with reverence and respect,” said Commissioner Ken Cutler. “The idea being that we’re going to be collecting all the items for purposes of preserving them into the future. Our intention is to make sure that they’re put into climate controlled facilities, stored properly with archival materials so they don’t deteriorate over time.”
Cutler says he called the victims’ families personally about Wednesday’s removal.
“We’ve extended to them the opportunity that if they would like to come and look at the materials and if there was something that was very personal to them that they felt they’d like to keep as a keepsake of course we would respect their wishes,” he said.
Cutler says they’ve already been through this same process once before when they cleared the memorial at Pine Trails Park.
All of the bears, pinwheels, signs and other homemade item will be gathered by volunteers from the Parkland Historical Society.
“We’re hoping to box up, save until we have conservation services aligned, and at that point conserve them,” said Jeff Schwartz. “Archive them so they’ve all got a number and location.”
Schwartz is the president of the historical society and says they’ll try to preserve or reuse as much as they can Including the flowers.
”That stuff will be collected and either ground up or incinerated by the city and used in our gardens as fertilizer,” he said.
So what will happen to the items?
The plan is to let victims’ families have any items they may want. The rest would go to a proposed museum in Parkland.
“Parkland’s got a very famous Indian burial site,” Schwartz said. “It’s called the Margate-Blount mound… Parkland Historical Society has put forth an idea to the city to build an interactive park at that location which would include a museum.”
Visitors to the school think preserving these items for future generations is a good idea.
“These kids don’t want to forget,” said William Joralemon. “They don’t want to just let it go by.”
“Preserving it and keeping it how it is, is going to help foster more change,” added Kimberly Montalvo.
The idea of an extension to the library or a museum to house these items has been floated around.
Sadly one couple allegedly decided to take some for themselves but were caught and quickly arrested.
Right now Kara O’Neil and Michael Kennedy remain in jail.
As for what will be done at the school, there are talks of knocking down the building where the shooting took place and building a memorial in its place.