Waukesha parade memorial donations stall

Donations have slowed for Waukesha’s permanent parade memorial. The chairman of the commission said it’s now unlikely the memorial will be dedicated by the second anniversary of the attack.

Despite the fundraiser having a large presence at the remembrance ceremony in November and during the 2022 parade Sunday, organizers haven’t seen a big increase in donations.

Among the crowd gathered for Waukesha's Christmas Parade Sunday night was a full-size model of a memorial that will be placed on Main Street honoring the victims of the 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade attack.

"Six people died," said Jerry Couri. "Six people didn’t need to die."

Couri is the Waukesha Parade Memorial Commission chairman. He said the Main Street memorial along with a larger one planned for Grede Park will cost $1.5 million. So far, the commission has raised $95,000, just over 6% their goal.

"This is going to take more than a year to be completed," said Couri. 

The commission originally wanted to dedicate the memorials by November 2023, the second anniversary of the attack.

"Will this be done? No," said Couri. "It’s probably going to be a little bit more than that."

Thrive Architects Waukesha parade attack victims memorial rendering

City leaders handed out flyers during the remembrance ceremony at Cutler Park and put a QR code on the Main Street model directing people to donate online.

"There have been 256 donors, and among individual donors, those gifts have ranged from $10 up to $1,000," said Melissa Baxter.

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Baxter, president of the Waukesha County Community Foundation said the holidays and inflation have stalled donations. Baxter also said the $6.7 million in donations for the victims and their families in a separate fundraiser stretched wallets.

Thrive Architects Waukesha parade victims memorial rendering

"All we can do is get the message out there about the different opportunities there are," said Baxter. "This is one that’s going to be part of our community forever, so I think it’s a good opportunity to be a part of it."

Couri said every dollar helps. He said it's another way to show Waukesha Strong.

"It comes from your heart," said Couri. "That’s more important than anything. " 

Baxter said donations for the memorial have come from 31 states. Couri said he’ll reach out for corporate donations in January.