Black Mountain to add COVID-19 memorial honoring those who died during pandemic

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
A design for the proposed memorial.

A memorial honoring those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic is in the works, Black Mountain Beautification Committee announced.

The project, located on a town-owned site known locally as “The Hill” across from Black Mountain Avenue and The Old Depot, is expected to be completed by April 1.

Longtime committee member Debbie Green proposed a “facelift” to the site comprised of all-native plants while offering a large donation to the project. Green told the committee that she hopes the memorial will honor her former husband, W. Larry Ventis, who died because of complications with COVID-19.

She also says the garden could “provide a measure of comfort” to their daughter, Summer.

The memorial and its inception based on all-native plants “quickly evolved and was enthusiastically involved.” While honoring those who have died “and the medical professionals, first responders and front-line workers, the garden serves to acknowledge the effect of the pandemic on all of us and each of us personally.”

Complementing Green’s initial “cornerstone” donation, the town will be donating a track hoe to excavate the area and will provide labor in addition to all remaining funding required to complete the project.

The project’s current design incorporates the area’s existing trees and pathways while replacing “overgrown and invasive plants with a variety of native species to provide color, texture and interest in every season.”

Additional boulders will be added to add “anchoring and interest to the garden.” These boulders may also be used for “contemplation and reflection.” Cleanup efforts, removal of older plants and placement of the new plants are provided by volunteers with the committee.

“The community of Black Mountain can be proud to take a leadership role in memorializing in a tangible and meaningful way the sacrifices that the pandemic has and continues to demand from us all,” the committee said.