Nacogdoches Moving Forward With Plans For Columbia Memorial

Plans are in motion to build a memorial to the shuttle Columbia victims in Nacogdoches. Making that happen could now be one step closer.

No one will forget that February morning when the Space Shuttle Columbia, heading home to Earth broke apart over East Texas. With the help of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the City of Nacogdoches' plans for a memorial honoring Columbia and the seven astronauts killed in the disaster, are one step closer to becoming a reality.

"This was a very special time in the history for this part of our state, and I'd like to have that memorial have some federal help to make sure were are able to do what the communities would like to do." said Senator Hutchison.

The senator met with Nacogdohces city and county leaders Wednesday afternoon. She's sponsoring legislation that would authorize federal funding for four memorials throughout East Texas, including Nacogdoches.

When finally in place, the plan is to have the memorial at the corner of Hospital and Fredonia Streets.

Nacogdoches city leaders are waiting to hear back from the architects so they can take the next step.

"We're waiting now for the design people to come back with their plans for it so we can look at it, determine how much area it's going to take and also how much money it's going to take to construct the memorial." said Nacogdoches mayor Bob Dunn.

Local money, as well as the federal funds Senator Hutchison is pushing for, will be needed to build the memorial. The senator hopes the funding will be approved sometime this year.

Besides Nacogdoches, Senator Hutchison's proposed bill will also authorize federal funding for memorials in Hemphill, Lufkin, and San Augustine.