A small park in the northwest corner of downtown Anchorage will soon have a new look.


Hostetler Park is located where Third Avenue becomes L Street. Since 1994, the eastern portion of the park has been occupied by the Alaska Victims Memorial. It includes the names of more than 350 Alaskans who died because of a violent crime, whether it was through homicide or a drunk driving crash.


Now, the Rotary Club of Anchorage is leading an effort to rebuild the park and the memorial.


“These victims — they’re worthy of our remembrance, and their families are worthy of having a place to do that safely and accessibly,” said Paula Bradison, who’s with the rotary club.


Her organization has planned the park’s renovation alongside the Alaska Police and Fire Chaplains and Victims for Justice. Corvus Design’s principal landscape architect, Peter Briggs, helped design the project pro-bono. The new design replaces the current wall memorial with columns and brings improved lighting and more open landscaping to the park.


“The intent is to even give people who’re just walking through it the chance to get away form the street a little bit,” Briggs explained.


The wall currently has significant empty space to ensure there is room for future names on the memorial. The new design, however, allows for additional names in a more discrete fashion.


“We don’t want to have a blank spot like we’re waiting for somebody else’s name to add,” said chaplain Diane Peterson, who said she wanted the new space to better inspire victims’ loved ones.


She said the new version of the park will also be more accessible in the wintertime, as the current memorial is difficult to reach from both the sidewalk and the parking lot.


“We want to make it a safe, comforting place where people can honor that pain in their heart,” Peterson added.


Bradison estimated the cost was $130,000. It will be largely paid for through private donations via a fundraising effort from the Rotary Club. She said the renovation’s organizers are also requesting a grant from the Anchorage Park Foundation.


The project is scheduled to break ground during this year’s annual memorial service at the park, which traditionally takes place the third week of July.


Bradison said there is still an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the design. It will be discussed at the Anchorage Parks and Recreation commission meeting at 6 p.m. on March 9 at the Spenard Community Recreation Center.


KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.