Donations Arrive for TWA Flight 800 Memorial Renovation | Community
Montoursville, Pennsylvania – The TWA Flight 800 memorial in Montoursville is in need of $200,000 in major repairs and maintenance, officials say.
The memorial is dedicated to the 16 Montoursville High School students and five attendants who lost their lives in the 1996 TWA plane crash that killed all 230 passengers on board. The students and chaperones were on a trip from the French Club to Paris when the plane exploded shortly after leaving JFK airport in New York.
The initial renovation of the memorial will cost $121,900, with the remaining $78,100 being used for future maintenance.
Donations are being accepted through the Montoursville Area School District Memorial Fund, where they have received $23,700 so far.
“It’s something that needs to be done,” Montoursville Mayor Steve Bagwell said. “It’s not just something you wish for or something you look at and say, ‘You know, damn it, we could make this a little prettier. “”
Montoursville Memorial Gardens was dedicated in 1999 and is currently in need of extensive walkway repairs totaling $79,000.
Bagwell said the current walkway is very close to the 21 maple trees, which each represent a victim of the accident. The root system gradually began to tear the stone bricks.
The plan is to remove the bricks that currently make up the walkway, replacing them with concrete pavers. The walkway will also be moved closer to the center by six meters to avoid future problems with roots.
The hemlocks around the property line will also be replaced with emerald green arborvitae that will not need pruning. It should cost $14,900.
Plans also call for the removal of mulch around the maple trees that represent each victim. This will be replaced with a pachysandra ground cover for $28,000. This will eliminate the need for annual mulch replacement.
“The project isn’t just going to keep intact what’s been done before,” Bagwell said. “It’s going to mean that there’s a lot less maintenance to do in the future.”
Donations permitting, the plan is to begin renovations to the memorial this fall.