VTA to discuss remodeling of San José mass shooting site
A mass shooting in May left San Jose without light rail service for weeks. Now that VTA has a roadmap to resume service, the transport agency will discuss a budget that, among other things, aims to rebuild parts of the yard damaged in the shooting.
VTA’s board of directors will discuss funding to rehabilitate and rebuild parts of the rail yard on Tuesday, but plans to demolish the buildings are not immediately clear. Officials are asking for additional changes in fiscal 2022 and 2023 budgets of up to $ 150 million to renovate the rail yard and related facilities, according to a memo.
“The tragedy that occurred at the Guadalupe tram facility on May 26, 2021 caused enormous loss of life and property,” the note read. “Elected officials from various branches of government have worked closely to identify the resources needed to support the VTA family and to rehabilitate the affected facilities. “
VTA declined to comment further and referred San José Spotlight to Tuesday’s meeting. The agency received $ 20 million in state funding in June to help with the recovery.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, also a VTA board member, spoke last month about the demolition and reconstruction of two buildings at the yard, both of which sustained damage during of the shooting.
Chavez told NBC Bay Area that a renovation would make the yard less traumatic for employees when they return to the site full-time. If the site were to have a permanent memorial, she said the families of the victims should be taken into account before going ahead with any plans.
Discussions about the demolition or renovation of buildings are still in their infancy. A logistical concern is to find a new marshalling yard.
“One of the challenges we have is that the yard is where we bring the light rail trains for storage in the evening and where we launch in the morning,” Chavez said previously.
The move is not without precedent: buildings involved in several of the nation’s mass shootings, including the buildings of Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon , were demolished after their mass shootings.
Other locations, like the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, the site of a mass shooting in 2017, have taken other steps, such as renumbering the floor where the shooter stayed. After a 2015 mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday services resumed a few days later.
But none of these buildings have the complex infrastructure that thousands of people depend on daily to get around.
The San Jose downtown rail yard has housed VTA’s light rail service and maintenance equipment since 1987. Approximately 379 VTA employees worked there prior to filming.
Light rail service is expected to return later this month in a phased process. Renovations and eventual demolition of buildings should be discussed during the process.
VTA’s board of directors will hold its special meeting on Tuesday at 2 p.m. For more information on how to watch or participate, click here.
Contact Lloyd Alaban at [email protected] or follow @lloydalaban on Twitter.