GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – A project to create a permanent memorial to those lost in the devastating 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires is underway after local officials signed a contract with the state.

Gatlinburg and Sevier County officials announced Monday that plans are officially in motion after they signed a grant contract with the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation.

Construction of the memorial is slated to begin in May of 2021 with completion estimated for December 2021 after preliminary design periods are completed in 2020.

Elements of the project include a Memorial to those who perished in the Wildfires and a Tribute to the First Responders. A space dedicated to pets that perished in the Fires will be incorporated into the Mills Park Dog Park.

“The City and County are pleased to get the project underway with the assistance of the TDOT Grant,” officials wrote in a release. “The new location in Mynatt Park will provide a beautiful setting for the Memorial and Tribute. This location will provide convenience and accessibility for future generations to visit this lasting Memorial of the events of November 28, 2016.”

Plans for a tribute to the wildfires were first announced in November of 2017. City officials said in August that organizers were looking for a new permanent location for the memorial.