PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said last week that he would be open to using eminent domain to seize the Station nightclub site, where a 2003 fire killed 100 people, The Associated Press reported.
It’s Chafee’s hope that families of the victims and survivors could build a memorial on the West Warwick land.
The Station Fire Memorial Foundation has been working to build a permanent memorial on the land. A makeshift memorial with homemade crosses and other items has existed since shortly after the fire. The land is owned by a private company, and efforts by the foundation to get the owner to donate or sell the land have gone nowhere, the AP said.
Chafee’s comments came in response to a statement by a victim’s father, Dave Kane, who said the state should take the property. Kane is worried that plans to build a “satellite” memorial in neighboring Warwick will deflect attention from efforts to build a memorial at the West Warwick site, the AP said.
Chafee said he was open to the idea if families unite behind it. Several family members and survivors of the fire told the AP they would support such an effort. •