GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — After years of waiting, the City of Gatlinburg and Sevier County held a dedication ceremony on Friday for the 2016 Wildfires Memorial and Tribute Plaza.
The ceremony took place at Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg on Friday, June 9 at 2 p.m. The event will be focused on “remembering those who lost their lives in the November 28, 2016 wildfires and paying tribute to the first responders who came to the aide of Gatlinburg and Sevier County,” according to a release from the city.
The idea to bring a memorial to the city came to life in 2017, one year after 14 lives were lost and many surrounding agencies came to the rescue during the fires. In September 2019, Gatlinburg and Sevier County received a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to help build the memorial. This grant was the main funding source for the Memorial and Tribute Plaza.
The City of Gatlinburg and Sevier County funded 20% of the estimated cost of construction, plus engineering.
The memorial at Mynatt Park involves two separate plazas flanking each side of LeConte Creek. According to the city, one serves as a memorial to those who died in the fires and the other is a tribute to the agencies who assisted during the response and recovery efforts.
The memorial was built by Robert Campbell & Associates and Whaley Construction was the contractor on the memorial.