Highland Park temporarily moves memorial items honoring parade shooting victims

Local businesses impacted by shooting urged to apply for disaster loans

Monday, August 1, 2022
Highland Park temporarily moves parade shooting memorial items
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Memorial items honoring the victims of the July 4th Highland Park parade shooting were temporarily moved Monday morning.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Nearly a month since the horrific mass shooting in Highland Park, two important moves aimed at helping the city move forward took place on Monday.

One was aimed at businesses that were impacted, while the other focuses on emotional scars that will take longer to heal.

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Memorial items honoring the victims of the July 4th Highland Park parade shooting were temporarily moved Monday morning.

Highland Park city workers, piece by piece, cleared the memorial in Port Clinton Square. The items will be distributed to a nearby memorial, and others to the city's public library.

It's part of an effort to allow people to continue to mourn, but also, to regain a sense of normality in a busy part of town.

"It's really heartening to see everyone coming together and trying to put the pieces back together," Highland Park resident Lucas Gerber said.

The move, however, is only temporary. The city disclosed a plan to eventually establish a permanent memorial to the victims of that day.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Mayor Nancy Rotering said the city is planning to create what she calls a lasting memorial in remembrance of the victims.

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"I think a permanent memorial is exactly what this town needs," Highland Park resident Dean Bradshaw said. "Not to always remind us of the tragedy, but also the lives that were impacted."

Mayor Rotering has sought the advice of mental health experts and said the permanent memorial will not be created immediately, to give the community more time heal.

"We want to make sure the families of those we lost and the victims of the shooting have the space and should grieve and recover," she said.

The mayor is also asking members of the public to contribute their input for the permanent site.

RELATED | Disaster declaration approved to help small business owners still feeling impact of parade shooting

Mayor Rotering joined Rep. Brad Schneider (D-10th District) and others Monday to let businesses impacted by the shooting know they are eligible for what is known as disaster loan assistance. In effect, they are loans that can be used to cover losses directly attributable to the shooting and its aftermath. And, they are available not just for those physically in Highland Park, but also in the surrounding area.

"There's the immediate impact of that week when businesses were closed, but there's going to be a long tail of an economic impact on those businesses," Schneider said.

"Several of our businesses were directly impacted. Their employees were shot. Their employees were shot at," Rotering said. "There were also physical repairs that needed to be made. And obviously there's the emotional trauma."

While the Small Business Administration has set up a recovery center where businesses and non-profits can apply in-person until August 11, officials with the agency said that no one has applied yet. They said most of the feedback indicates business owners are waiting to see what other options they have before going ahead.

Some of those options include direct grants being provided by the city itself. Officials are encouraging folks to apply for both to get the process moving, and they can always change their minds later on.