Remembrance Wall.
Attendees are painting messages on tiles.
Attendees are painting messages on tiles.

A desert lot in Downtown Las Vegas was transformed into a beautiful memorial, attracting thousands of people to the area. The Healing Garden and Remembrance Wall was erected on Oct. 5 to commemorate the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting last Sunday night.


58 trees were planted all along the garden path right across the street from the First Friday festival, honoring each individual who passed away. In the middle stands the Healing Tree surrounded by a low-lying wall shaped like a heart.


In front of the Healing Tree is the Remembrance Wall which memorializes every victim with a photo — including 20-year-old former UNLV student, Quinton Robbins, whose image swings under a rose.


A ribbon-cutting event opened the garden, as people stood shoulder to shoulder while several groups had their arms over one another. City representatives, donors and volunteers of the garden spoke after several groups sang for the public.


“I know tonight if the sky is clear they’ll be some new stars up there, but never be ashamed to ask for help,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said.


While the ribbon was cut, white balloons were tied to each of the 58 trees. The Healing Tree anchored the largest balloon, illuminated by a spotlight.


The garden’s design started off as a sketch on a napkin by local architects Jay Pleggenkuhle and Daniel Perez of Stonerose Landscapes. The idea was pitched the day after the shooting and received an immense amount of support from the community.


The City of Las Vegas gave Pleggenkuhle and Perez about a quarter of an acre of land to bring their vision to life.


Pleggenkuhle stated that during construction they had thousands of individuals and dozens of organizations contributing to complete the garden in just a week.


“Everywhere I’ve gone the community has shown support” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said. “And that’s important for the healing process.”


Dozens of organizations from around the Valley, such as the Ewing Irrigation and Star Nursery, committed to the garden. The local pottery, All Fired Up, even held a tile painting area next to the garden. Attendees designed the tiles to convey his or her thoughts, wishes and hopes for Las Vegas.


The co-owner of All Fired Up, Gail Schomisch, said they need approximately 2,000 to 3,000 tiles so that they can decorate the heart wall and stone benches in the garden.


“It’s really hard to limit everything we are feeling in a 6-by-6 tile,” said Kim Izumo, a teacher at Fremont Middle School. “I have so much emotions for this city.”


The tile designs all had one theme in common: To put the pieces of Las Vegas back together.


Both the garden and the wall are located near Casino Center Boulevard and Coolidge Avenue in Downtown Las Vegas.

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