MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been 26 years since the Flight 800 tragedy took the lives of 21 people, of that, 16 were students and five were faculty members. The memorial park was completed a few years after the accident and is now getting a makeover.
A member of Montoursville’s Perpetual Care Committee says the renovation is long overdue and they’re thrilled to finally make some needed changes.
For 23 years, the Flight 800 Memorial Gardens sat along Broad Street in Montoursville.
Renovations of the area began Monday, with the removal of the trees along the neighboring fences and the walkway.
“Over the years, the tree’s roots have heaved the bricks that are there. We’ve chosen to move the walkway in about 15 feet, and put some new pavers down. As you can see behind me, that is part of the construction going on here today,” said Scott Konkle, Borough Representative of the Perpetual Care Committee.
The Perpetual Care Committee oversees the maintenance of the garden and worked to develop the plans for the renovations.
“The common brick area was around the trees. This time we’re putting some concrete pavers down so it’ll have a different look to them. Last time there was the bricks,” Konkle said.
Some of those bricks have the names of the victims, which will all be re-used in the new design.
After the construction of the first project, $25,000 was left over and used to create a memorial fund. With donations from the community, those funds have grown to over $120,000.
“In the economy today you know it’s hard for people to meet their needs, but honestly, something like this they’ve contributed and have done a great job in getting us where we need to be,” Konkle stated.
Konkle says much of the project will be complete before the new year.
“Everything will probably be [done] in spring of next year. Because we do have some yard work and things to do, but the brick pavers will be done as long as the weather permits within the next month to 2 months,” said Konkle.
The committee is still working to reach its goal of $200,000 to cover all costs of the renovations and maintenance for the new memorial.
Donations can be mailed to the address below for the Flight 800 Memorial Garden and checks may be paid to “The MASD Memorial Fund.”
50 North Arch Street,
Montoursville, PA 17754