4-acre memorial to honor 26 victims of 1970 tornado

4-acre memorial to honor 26 victims of 1970 tornado

LUBBOCK, Texas -

May 11, 2019 is the 49th anniversary of the Lubbock tornado that killed 26 people.

2020 marks a half-century since the storm caused more than $200M in damage, in 1970 figures.

Lubbock National Bank made a $1 million donation to the Tornado Memorial Gateway project. It will honor the victims and those who worked to rebuild the city.

"We gathered in the hall, right inside the bathroom door as soon as we did, windows popped, walls caved in over us," Irasema Velasquez remembered.

Velasquez's was one of the more than a thousand homes destroyed by the tornado. Though her family had to rebuild their lives, it was nothing compared the families of the 26 victims. However, she described everyone who was in Lubbock at the time, as a survivor.

"We remember the city, we remember Corporate America that went over and beyond and you know what we're survivors. We're survivors to be able to appreciate what's happening her," she added.

The memorial will act as a gateway to downtown. According to plans, it'll be on the corner of Avenue Q and Glenna Goodacre. The lot was where most of the damage occurred, in 1970.

"I think it's going to be one of those places that visitors and people that live here are going to come and just be amazed at how breathtaking this is," Chairman of the project, Dan Williams added.

The four-acre lot will have granite walls with a map of the city to mimic the storm's eight and a half mile path. It'll also include waterfalls and a green space.

According to Robert Taylor with the United Family, the idea for the project happened with he was talking to the McDougals about entryway to the city.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could have something that was really iconic that would introduce downtown not only to their citizens, but to the visitors it would have," Taylor said.

The memorial plans to honor the 26 victims, along with the people who helped rebuild the city.

According to Mayor Dan Pope, it will continue the legacy to a lively downtown.

"It's important to our future as we create an environment where companies want to continue to invest and hire our people. And where other companies want to come and invest. A downtown is important to that," the mayor said.

The construction is expected to begin in the summer, with hopes the project will be competed by May 11, 2020, the 50th anniversary.

To donate to the project, visit www.downtownlbk.us/tornado-memorial or email tornadomemorialgtwy@gmail.com


 

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