For more than 10 years the make-shift memorial at 211 Cowesset Ave in West Warwick has held the memories of the 100 lives lost in the Station Nightclub Fire. The white crosses and old photographs that have long covered the landscape are now coming down to make way for a more permanent memorial.
"When I need to be with him or be with the 100 I come here. I don't go to the cemetery because this is where they are," said Gina Russo, President of the Station Fire Memorial Foundation.
Construction at the site starts next week. Prior to that happening the area needs to be cleared of all the mementos. Over the last few days loved ones and survivors have been returning to the site to collect anything they wish to keep. The deadline to do so was Sunday. Anything left behind will be respectfully removed and placed in a vault or time capsule to be incorporated in the memorial.
"It's bittersweet. It's defiantly bittersweet, to be taking these mementos off the property but we will remove them with love and care because it's sentimental to all of us," said Russo who is a survivor. She also lost her finance in the fire.
The project comes with a hefty price tag. Right now the foundation has raised about $200,000 of the $1.7 million dollars needed to complete it.
"It's slow, and it's okay. I'm positive we'll get it done and I'm positive that people respect what we're doing and understand what we're doing and they want this," said Russo.
Parts of the construction process, including some of the labor, will be donated. The foundation is looking for the communities help with the rest of the donations. They are holding a fundraiser on October 14th at the Cranston Country Club.
The permanent memorial is expected to be complete in 2014.
To learn more about the fundraiser you can click here. Follow the link to the SFMF Golf Tournament.