NEW YORK (WSVN) – Families who lost loved ones in a catastrophic condo collapse in Surfside are in New York, as they continue their mission to build a memorial on the site of the collapse.
It has been three months since the Surfside collapse, and some families are working with the widow of a 9/11 victim in hopes of bringing a memorial to South Florida.
“We believe that the original collapse site is sacred ground,” Rabbi Lisa Shrem, who lost a friend in the collapse, said. “We believe that you do not, in the United States of America, build over dead bodies. We just don’t do it.”
Families and friends of those who lost their lives in the collapse took their message to New York to call for the construction of a memorial.
“Please help us honor and respect the final resting place where so many human remains simply vanished,” Martin Langesfeld, who lost his sister in the collapse, said. “Help us honor the place where we have our last memories.”
A total of 98 people died after part of the Champlain Towers South Condominium collapsed on June 24.
Loved ones said using the land for anything but a memorial would be a disgrace.
“There’s no money in the world that can compensate for the pain and suffering I’m going through,” Pablo Langesfeld, who lost his daughter in the collapse, said. “The land became available at the expense of 98 innocent victims that never saw the sun on June 24.”
The families are working with September’s Mission in New York. It’s an organization created by Monika Aiken, who lost her husband on Sept. 11, 2001.
They said they want a memorial similar to the one built at ground zero.
“Although the cause of the mass catastrophe was very different, the pain we suffered was very similar,” Martin said. “We went three weeks, 504 hours, without knowing where our loved ones were.”
“We are here to show you our vision for what the site in Surfside, Florida can look like, just as the memorial here at ground zero has become,” Shrem said. “Such a beautiful reflective space for family members to come and connect with their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, the Miami-Dade County judge overseeing the collapse site endorsed a plan on Thursday to sell the land to an overseas developer for $120 million for construction of a high rise.
The attorney appointed to manage the property will continue to market it, holding an auction if competitive bidders offer to pay a higher price.
The proposed contract makes no mention of a memorial.
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