BOSTON The organization planning a park to commemorate the death of 100 people in a deadly fire at a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003 said on Monday that it had reached its $2 million fundraising goal, allowing construction of the memorial to move forward.
Hard rock band Great White was performing in West Warwick, Rhode Island's The Station nightclub on Feb. 20, 2003, when a pyrotechnical display ignited the small wooden building's highly flammable foam sound insulation, setting off a blaze that also injured more than 200 people.
The Station Fire Memorial Park is expected to open in spring 2017, organizers of the memorial said on Monday. Earlier, they had hoped to have the park complete by this month.
"We are very grateful to Rhode Island businesses, large and small, who stepped up and contributed in meaningful ways to this memorial park," said Donald Carcieri, the state's governor at the time of the blaze and co-chair of the fundraising committee, in a statement.
In 2009, hundreds of survivors and victims' relatives reached a $176 million settlement with more than 50 defendants in lawsuits filed as a result of the fire. The band's tour manager and two men who owned the nightclub pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)