Inflation delays groundbreaking and increases costs at Emanuel Nine Memorial in Charleston | Features
The memorial honoring the victims and survivors of the 2015 Emanuel AME Church shooting is moving forward, but the project has become more expensive and will not launch this year.
To help, the cities of Charleston and North Charleston have responded with financial contributions to help ensure the construction of the Emanuel Nine Memorial, which will be located at the church.
The Charleston City Council approved an additional $2 million on September 13 to go to the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation. Days later, on September 15, the City of North Charleston’s finance committee approved a $250,000 donation to the memorial, which is now expected to be dedicated in the spring.
“We are extremely grateful that the cities are coming together to continue to show their support for the memorial,” said Reverend Eric Manning, pastor of Emanuel AME and co-chair of the foundation’s board of directors.
Last year, the city of Charleston spent $2 million on the project. The approval of additional funding this year came amid rising costs for the memorial.
The fundraising goal for the project has increased from $17.5 million to $25 million, said Kimberlyn Davis, executive director of the memorial foundation. The price of the project rose primarily because of inflation, Davis said. Labor and material costs have increased significantly, she said.
“The current economic environment has really increased memorial costs,” Davis said. “Everything is up about 50-75% since this time last year.”
Of the $25 million, $20 million is needed to build the memorial. The additional $5 million will be used to endow the memorial and house social justice programs. So far, the foundation has raised $14.7 million, although the foundation is still waiting for some donors to meet their financial commitments, Davis said.
The project schedule was also impacted. The Emanuel Monument was previously scheduled to be dedicated this fall.
Now the next step is to get a building permit from the city of Charleston, said Michael Arad, architect of the memorial. Charleston’s additional donation now allows the foundation to secure marble for the project, which is the most costly budget item.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey recognized the city’s donation as an effort that helps fund a memorial that will recognize both the tragic event itself, as well as the solidarity expressed throughout the Lowcountry in the aftermath. of the shooting.
“It could have happened in North Charleston,” Summey said. “We felt it was important that we take part in this recognition.”
The memorial courtyard will be built on the left side of Emanuel AME, occupying part of the church’s paved parking lot. The space will feature two large marble pews with a fountain between them containing the names of the nine parishioners killed at the church.
Behind the pews will be the Contemplation Pool, a quiet space ideal for prayer and reflection that includes a black granite altar and a cross fixed to a wall above. A path will connect the courtyard and the pond to the Jardin des Survivors which will be on the right side of the church. This path will be named after Septima Clark, a prominent civil rights activist and educator who grew up nearby.
Arad, who designs the memorial, is known for his work in designing the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at the site of the World Trade Center in New York.
“Hopefully this will be one of Charleston’s defining landmarks,” Arad said.
Reach Ricky Dennis at 937-4886. Follow him on Twitter @RCDJunior.