Memorial to Be Built for Victims of Deadly Center City Collapse

What will become of Philadelphia’s deadly building collapse site?

It will become a memorial to the victims of the deadly collapse at the former Salvation Army site at 22nd and Market in Center City.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced Thursday that the Salvation Army had donated the land to the city tax free with the intention of building a park for the victims.

Six people died and 13 were hurt on June 5, 2013, when a four-story, free-standing brick wall came crashing down on top of the thrift store. Shoppers and workers inside were buried in the debris — including one woman, for 13 hours.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said he expects council to quickly pass legislation accepting the gift of the land.

More than 6,200 people have signed a petition calling for a park at the site.

City Treasurer Nancy Winkler has led the drive to build a park to honor the victims, including her 24-year-old daughter, Anne Bryan.

Winkler has said her daughter was dropping off clothes when she was killed.

“We commend all those involved — starting with Nancy Winkler and her family — for their unwavering persistence in advocating for a permanent memorial park at the site of the horrific building collapse tragedy,” said Robert Mongeluzzi, a personal injury lawyer representing some of the victims.

In the coming months, donations will be accepted to help build the park. The design of which will be revealed on April 1.

As the plan of what to do with the site came to fruition, the investigation continued as those accused in the collapse await dates in court. Backhoe operator Sean Benschop, a.k.a. Kary Roberts, and contractor Griffin Campbell are the only two people criminally charged in the incident.

Prosecutors say the contractors were skirting safety rules when they demolished a building next door, leading a huge brick wall to collapse on the thrift store.

On Thursday, Nutter didn’t talk about the criminal investigation but he did reveal that beside building a park at 22nd and Market that the city has been in conversations to find an alternate downtown location for the Salvation Army.

Officials are looking to raise $125,000 to construct the memorial and an online funding program has been launched to reach that goal. You can visit that site by clicking here.

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