The city of Dayton has announced the members of a new committee tasked with helping to oversee the location and design for a permanent memorial to the victims of the Oregon District shooting rampage, which killed nine people and injured more than 30 others in a matter of seconds outside the Ned Peppers bar.
The committee includes the mayor herself, along with representatives from the Dayton business community, the Dayton Foundation, Ned Peppers bar, and the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Victim Witness Division, and others.
As the memorial committee's process moves forward, the city is promising to include input from victims' families and survivors, people who live and work in the Oregon District, and the broader community.
City officials say they've already sought some advice from officials in other cities that have experienced similar mass shootings, and the new committee is expected to continue to consult with other cities as well as research best practices for creating permanent memorials.
Mayor Nan Whaley says establishing a permanent memorial is important at this time of trauma for many people across the city. There is no fixed timeline for the process.
“A lot of the families are still just processing this. And so while the community is you know let's go let's go let's go. We are going to be very cognizant of the family's wishes through this process,” Whaley says.
"This memorial will become a very important site for grieving and remembrance."
To help pay for the memorial, the city established a new fund at the Dayton Foundation to help raise money for a permanent memorial. To contribute, visit the Dayton Foundation, fund #8375, or send a donation by mail to The Dayton Foundation, 1401 S. Main St., Suite 100, Dayton OH, 45409.
A location for the memorial has not yet been selected.
The permanent memorial would include some items from the temporary makeshift memorial that for weeks stood outside Ned Peppers’ bar where the shooting took place.
The city has already moved many items from that temporary site to Dayton History for safekeeping.
A team of specialists is working to dry out and preserve the items, which included handwritten cards and letters, flowers, candles, wooden crosses bearing the names of the dead, and teddybears.
Whaley says city officials determined it was necessary to move the items from the sidewalk in front of Ned Peppers to protect them from further weather-related damage and preserve them for potential inclusion in the future permanent memorial.
"It just being out here at night, every night," she says, we wanted to make sure that we archived this traumatic part of history of Dayton."
The city urges anyone who wants to contribute ideas for the memorial or donate art to contact Darius Beckham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-333-3659.
The committee members are:
Sandy Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership
Sandy Hunt, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Victim Witness Division
Rob Jones, Ferncliff Cemetery and Oregon District resident
Chris Kershner, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Dan "Wiley" Lafferty, Oregon District business owner
Michelle Lovely, Dayton Foundation
City Commissioner Chris Shaw
Natalie Skilliter, Corner Kitchen and Oregon District Business Association
Austin Smith, Ned Peppers and Hole in the Wall
Mike Parks, Dayton Foundation
Mayor Nan Whaley