New General Assembly Offices Will Hinder Public Safety Memorial

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Plans to build a new General Assembly office building adjacent toVirginia's historic statehouse are already prompting changes in downtown Richmond, years before the first ceremonial shovel of dirt is turned on that project. The Capitol Square improvements, approved by lawmakers and the governor earlier this year, are expected to cost around $300 million through 2019.

But that project is throwing a wrench in the plans of another project, nearly a decade in the making.

“We're one of only five states in the nation that doesn't have a memorial honoring public safety workers who have died in the line of duty,” said Matthew Gray, executive director of the Virginia Public Safety Foundation (VPSF).

The Virginia Public Safety Memorial broke ground in early January, and despite big plans in Capitol Square, it's still on track to be completed by the end of 2014.

Gray says it's Virginia's responsibility to move forward as soon as possible on the memorial to honor the 843 men and women who paid the ultimate price. But doing that means finding the memorial a new home, fast.

“Plans to demolish and rebuild the General Assembly Building would have caused a delay of four or five years,” Gray said. “Our plan is for the memorial to be moved to a site about 50 yards to the east of the original location.”

New plans would put the memorial next to the Patrick Henry building, home to the office of Governor Terry McAuliffe and his cabinet. The plans have yet to be finalized, but the Virginia Public Safety Foundation says it is still on track to finish on time, finally honoring our fallen heroes.

Tuesday night, Governor Terry McAuliffe participated in a memorial service at the capitol to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during the past year. Their names will join hundreds of others on the memorial when it's completed later this year.

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