Planning continues for a permanent memorial on the Las Vegas Strip where the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place more than five years ago.
The Oct. 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, an outdoor event held across from Mandalay Bay and Luxor, took 60 lives (including two who died later from their injuries) and injured more than 400.
Two recent real estate transactions affect what ultimately becomes of the site that hosted the country music festival. MGM Resorts International, which owned the venue, donated 2 acres to Clark County in August to develop the memorial. It then sold the rest of the site, about 13 acres, to MHA Nation, also known as Three Affiliated Tribes, for an undisclosed sum in December.
Tribes has yet to announce plans for the site.
MGM Resorts president Bill Hornbuckle announced the deal in an e-mail to employees: "We know the importance this location holds to so many and have always put tremendous thought into every consideration involving the site. This is no exception," Hornbuckle wrote.
The Clark County Commission appointed the 1 October Memorial Committee to develop ideas and recommendations to remember those who died; honor the survivors, first responders and others who addressed the shooting's aftermath; and to celebrate the resiliency and compassion of the Southern Nevada community.
The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden downtown was created within days of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting, but another, more elaborate memorial is being planned at the site of the tragedy. Photo Credit: Aaron Mayes / UNLV Special Collections and Archives
Last month, the committee named five teams (of 21 applicants) who will present their ideas for a memorial. Each team will have a $50,000 budget to create renderings. Their proposals, which will include models, budgets and a narrative of the concepts, are scheduled to be unveiled in June.
"This is an exciting new phase of our development process, and we look forward to seeing the concepts for the memorial that the teams create and unveil next spring for consideration," said committee chairwoman Tennille Pereira, who also serves as director of the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center.
The committee will solicit public feedback before making a recommendation to the Clark County Commission. No further timeline for the memorial's development is in place.
Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden, located downtown at 1015 S. Casino Center Blvd. about six miles north of the shooting site, continues to invite residents and tourists to pay their respects to the victims. Fifty-eight trees line a paved path, shrubs and flowers around an oak tree dubbed the "Tree of Life" donated by the legendary entertainers Siegfried & Roy.
Painted rocks, flowers, pictures and other mementos placed around the garden offer condolences, prayers, and remembrance of the victims.
Other plans for the site
Three Affiliated Tribes, a sovereign nation comprising the
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation tribes, is based on the Fort Berthold
Reservation in western North Dakota. It has owned and operated the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge on the reservation since 1993.
In addition to the land it purchased from MGM Resorts, the group purchased a vacant 8.7-acre parcel near the shooting site for $12
million during a July 2020 bankruptcy auction.
Although Three Affiliated
Tribes' plans for Las Vegas have not been announced, they reportedly could include
a new casino or paid parking facility.
Revenue from any
project will be used to improve and develop the reservation, according
to an MHA news release after the sale, and any development will be
sensitive to the planned memorial.
"Given our culture and
who we are as a people, we understand and are sympathetic to the
suffering that occurred five years ago, and it is our hope that whatever
is determined to be developed on the site will be positive for the Las
Vegas community and the millions of visitors who go to the area
annually," MHA chairman Mark N. Fox said.
MGM's Hornbuckle expressed confidence that the land is in good hands.
Three Affiliated Tribes have demonstrated that they care about our
community, its future and, of course, its past," Hornbuckle wrote. "I'd
like to thank them for their commitment to the community and wish them
the best moving forward."