Fallen ironworker’s family plans memorial near Kauffman Center
|By Caroline Bauman, The Kansas City Star|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Husband and father
Although it hasn't been easy,
"A memorial would bring closure to my girls or even a sense of pride," she said. "It's a painful place to be. It'd be nice to turn that around for us from a negative to a positive."
Every year since her husband died on
"Ryan was an organ donor and wanted to be cremated, so there is no grave," Goodman said. "That leaves an empty spot, a place missing to go and pay respects. A memorial felt appropriate."
After several setbacks, and thanks to help from a city councilman, Goodman might finally make the memorial for her husband -- and all laborers killed at
She and Councilman
Goodman did not start with the bench idea when she set out to create a memorial.
She first wanted to create a bronze work from his boots -- a "small and subtle memorial" that would be placed at the Kauffman Center. Goodman contacted the Kauffman Center and its architects,
"I understand the request was evaluated in this light," Schofer said. "Shortly after the accident occurred in 2009, we sought to honor
The Goodman daughters, Tehya, 14, and Makaylee, 13, also placed their handprints on the center's Children's Wall, "to further serve as a permanent reminder to them of the contribution their father made to the project," Schofer said.
Goodman said she was disappointed but determined. She thought about the space around the Kauffman Center and
"I thought a bench would not only be a great memorial for Ryan but also a place for people to sit and think," Goodman said. "We go to a new city and appreciate the architecture, but we have to remember that people work and sacrifice to build it. Somebody's daddy died building it."
Goodman soon found that getting a bench built on city property was no small task. It requires an encroachment permit -- taking city property and turning it into private property -- which brings with it annual license fees and insurance payments.
"I already knew I was going to pay for the bench and donate it, but the added fees made it about impossible to do," she said. "The permits division told me to see if a city official would file a city ordinance to make the bench a part of city property, which would get rid of the fees and insurance."
Goodman emailed Wagner and heard back from him within 10 minutes, she said.
"My own father was an ironworker, so I have a certain understanding of what ironworkers' families face," Wagner said. "That made this especially pertinent to me, along with the fact Mrs. Goodman was having such a difficult time getting it done."
Wagner said he will file an ordinance to maintain the bench as part of the
"The bench would be a great way for people to take a moment to understand personal sacrifice," Wagner said. "It's also just a great amenity for an area where many people walk and there are few places to sit."
The art commission and convention facilities department will receive a rendering of the bench, Wagner said, and preliminary talks have been encouraging.
"My goal is to have everything taken care of on our side by the end of summer so Mrs. Goodman can put in the bench by November," Wagner said.
This November will be the fifth anniversary of Ryan's death. If all moves ahead as scheduled, Goodman said, they will have the memorial built by
What started out as a memorial for Ryan evolved into a way to honor all the laborers who have sacrificed to build
"This has been a long process," she said. "And the whole time I have been wondering: Why don't we have this already to pay respect for those who have died building this city?"
Since Ryan's death in 2009, more than 50 laborers have died in accidents at work in western
"Every April there we hold a Workers'
"Ryan was a top-shelf ironworker," Christopherson said. "He should be recognized for all he gave to this city. And the fact that Mrs. Goodman wants this memorial to be in remembrance for not just Ryan but all construction workers killed on the job in
Goodman's driving force to see the memorial through goes back to her daughters.
"Ryan was very proud of the work he did," she said. "I hope this becomes a place we can sit when we take flowers. I hope we can look around at the buildings and be proud."
(c)2014 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services