Waukesha parade attack victims memorial; designs narrowed soon

Waukesha's parade memorial commission is a step closer to picking a design for a permanent memorial. 

Next Tuesday, July 26, the commission will narrow six designs down to three. The public will then have an opportunity to give feedback before a final decision is made. 

"When the competition came out – we felt a strong need to be a part of it," said Dave Raschka.

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Raschka and the team at Thrive Architects are headquartered in downtown Waukesha – just blocks away from where the Christmas parade tragedy unfolded. 

"As soon as we saw it, we all in the office got together and said, yeah we have to come up with a design," Raschka said. 

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Thrive Architects Waukesha parade attack victims memorial rendering

When the city's parade memorial commission started looking for permanent memorial designs, Thrive submitted an entry. 

"We have these six ribbons – each one for one of the victims," Raschka said. 

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Each of those ribbons come together to form a giant heart. 

"The heart actually creates a picture frame looking back to Main Street," Raschka said.

It is a way visitors can keep what happened here in their own heart. The commission is reviewing these six submissions. Each is designed for Grede Park. Some incorporate secondary structures along Main Street.

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Strang Waukesha parade attack victims memorial rendering

"This tragedy really effected the entire community – this very tight-knit community," said Mitchell Branscombe. 

Branscombe is an architect with Strang. Its team's idea evokes a ripple – that slowly returns to calm. 

"This moment in time where you put a pebble into a pond and that expands and changes the surface of the water completely," Branscombe said.

The ripple is represented by a 20-foot-high wooden structure. It is lit at night in "Waukesha Strong" blue. 

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Richard Taylor Waukesha parade attack victims memorial rendering

Each design honors the six lives lost on Nov. 21, 2021 – while making sure what happened that day is never forgotten.

"It’s something you don’t want to design for.  You wish this thing never existed, never happened.  But to respond to something in a way that hopefully reflects how you feel (EDIT) it’s huge," Branscombe said.

Next week, the commission will also discuss fundraising to pay for the memorial. 

In April, leaders estimated they would need $100,000 for the memorial project. They hope to reach that goal through donations – not taxpayer dollars.