- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The large memorial honoring the victims of a mass shooting in Tucson of which former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords was the target is moving forward.

The first portion of the memorial, a wall, will break ground next year, said Crystal Kasnoff, executive director of the January 8th Foundation.

The Jan. 8, 2011, shooting left six dead and 13 hurt, including Giffords who was gravely wounded after being shot in the head. Gunman Jared Loughner was sentenced in November 2012 to seven life terms in prison plus 140 years after pleading guilty to 19 counts related to the shooting. Those killed included 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and Giffords aid Gabe Zimmerman, who was 30.

The memorial will be located downtown in Tucson’s historic El Presidio Park.

Kasnoff said the major portion of the plans will cost about $4 million and that the foundation has raised about $1 million so far in private donations.

“We really think this will bring people to Tucson and will continue in a big way the revitalization of downtown,” Kasnoff said.

Pima County voters last month rejected a bond that would have funded part of the project, but Kasnoff said that only pushed more private donors into helping.

The memorial will be just outside of the old Pima County Courthouse and will be in a diamond-like shape that visitors can walk through and read stories about the shooting and of other historic Tucson events.

The foundation also plans on building an amphitheater and a cafe, along with revitalizing the entire park and restoring a large fountain.

Kasnoff said the foundation will seek help from the county, state and potentially the federal government. It’ll also start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money from the public.

The foundation will release the final design of the memorial on Jan. 15.

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