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Place of Remembrance

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At the Tuesday, September 26, 2023 meeting of the Committee of the Whole, the Highland Park City Council continued its discussion for moving forward with the framework for the planning process of the Place of Remembrance, which will pay tribute to those who whose lives were taken and to the community’s resilient spirit. Building on the Council’s previous conversations and a review of approaches undertaken by other communities locally and globally from Mayor Nancy Rotering, Council member Annette Lidawer, and City Manager Ghida Neukirch, City Councilmembers reiterated the need for sensitive and compassionate deliberation and underscored the importance of continued outreach and public engagement. The City of Highland Park remains committed to implementing a trauma-informed approach to the planning process, incorporating expert feedback and best practices.

The Place of Remembrance will have three primary objectives:

  • Create a place(s) for reflection, remembrance, and solace
  • Pay tribute to the memory of the seven victims
  • Honor the community’s resiliency, especially those who were injured

These objectives are based on research into the purpose of memorial sites and their role in long-term individual and community resilience. Studies show that memorial sites should be understood from an individual and collective perspective, and that they must also be conceptualized with a view towards the present and future post-traumatic needs of all who were directly impacted – and those who were not. The term “Place of Remembrance” is thus recommended because it emphasizes that this space will continue to be one of active remembrance, not just for today, but for future community members and the greater public.

Planning for the Place of Remembrance is anticipated to be a multi-year, transparent process, undertaken by a working group of the Mayor, a designated City Council member, the City Manager, the City’s Resiliency Manager, and the Executive Director of the Park District of Highland Park. The group will follow the City’s existing public meeting structure and will be tasked with providing for multiple avenues of public input and feedback that will be communicated throughout the process. A summary of the proposed process is below:

  • The working group will serve in an advisory capacity to the City Council.
  • This working group will be responsible for guiding the planning process. The working group will not vote; rather they will make recommendations based on research and public input concerning considerations pertinent to a memorial, including location, scale, scope, cost, and other factors.
  • The City Council will be the final decision-making body. When the time comes, the established building and planning process will be followed.
  • Standing members of the working group will include the Mayor, the City Manager, the Park District of Highland Park Executive Director, the City’s Resiliency Manager, a designated City Council member (to be determined). Other City or Park District staff members will be invited to discussions where they may provide pertinent feedback as required. The working group will also engage regularly with other government partners such as the school districts, and community partners such as the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic and Josselyn.
  • The working group will be tasked with identifying a process for community engagement. This process will be communicated with victims’ family members, individuals injured and those present at the shooting, and the general public, and opportunities for participation will be communicated by both the City and the Park District.
  • The working group will establish a process that maximizes inclusion of different perspectives, utilizing different modalities to ensure that community members have multiple opportunities and formats through which to share their points of view.
  • Victims’ family members, individuals who were injured and those who were present and directly impacted will be invited to participate at their own pace and time.
  • Public input will be invited throughout the process, and updates will be provided to the community on a regular basis.
  • Meetings of the working group will be open to the public. Meeting agendas and minutes will be posted to the City’s website at
  • The City will ensure that community members remain informed via all communication modalities, including the City’s website (, public meeting management website (, social media (, and eNews (

The City will continue to maintain the temporary memorial as a public place for remembrance and reflection until a permanent Place of Remembrance is established. The temporary memorial is located at the Rose Garden (located adjacent to City Hall at 1707 St. Johns Avenue). This is a sacred space and the City asks that privacy be respected when visiting. More information about the temporary memorial is available at

The City recognizes that this is a complex, emotional topic, and urges anyone in need to seek support. Free and confidential multilingual assistance from trained mental health counselors is available 24/7 via 211 Lake County. Visit, call 211, or text 898211.

Please contact the City’s Resiliency Division at; Resiliency Division Manager Madeline Kati may be reached at 847.875.1043.