LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock Tornado Memorial Gateway Project is set to be finished in the upcoming months and unveiled on May 11, 2021.
The $4.7 million project consists of two walls located on a four-acre site at Glenna Goodacre and Avenue Q. The Lubbock Tornado Memorial Gateway Project said it would honor the past and serve as a historical tool to educate people about that time period.
Marky Rosales, superintendent for Lee Lewis Construction Inc., said the project was anticipated to be finished by May 11, 2020, to mark the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. However, the pandemic created unforeseen challenges.
“We got some granite material that were on the tornado walls coming from overseas, and shipments were just not showing up on time,” said Rosales. “We had some electrical components that were also in the mix that we not being produced because of what we got hit by.”
Rosales said the project is moving right along, and they are working to engrave names on the memorial walls.
Robert Taylor, the vice-chair of the project and CEO of United supermarkets, said the creation of the memorial has been a community effort. He said the city donated the land and that many donors stepped up to help make it happen.
Taylor said he recalled where he was when the tornado struck and that there was little to no warning of the tornado due to limited technology in the ’70s.
“Our apartment was on the second floor, and we got under the beds and just waited it out till it calmed down under the beds, and then I started worrying about my father’s business that was downtown,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he traveled to find his father’s business and was shocked at the amount of destruction.
“It just looked like a complete disaster area,” Taylor said. “You wouldn’t believe it. It reminded me of when we watch WWII movies.”
Taylor said the memorial’s walls are shaped to mimic the direction the F5 tornado took on that day and that it also creates a unique entry point to downtown.
“I think it’s going to be a grand addition to Lubbock. There’s not doing to be many cities that have an entry to their downtown that can compare to what we are going to have here,” Taylor said.