Aurora theater shooting victims' families allowed to visit theater

1:47 PM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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Tom Teves - father of Alex Teves who died in the tragic mass shooting - says the families have until Friday to respond to the inquiry. He still does not know how he will reply.

The future of the Aurora movie theater was unclear after the tragic shooting took place in July. On Sept. 21, Cinemark corporate announced they plan to reopen the theater at the end of the calendar year.

Cinemark USA president and CEO Tim Warner wrote to Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan on Sept. 20 saying "We look forward to working with you about the best way to reopen the theater. We hope the theater will be ready by the beginning of the New Year."

Hogan originally wrote to Warner on Sept. 12.

"While no one will ever forget that day, it is now time to look forward and plan for the future," that letter from Hogan reads. "We believe that we are hearing, and indeed have heard for some time, a collective wish and desire for the theater to re-open. As part of that process, there will certainly be some special circumstances to be addressed."

Warner went on to say the provisions could include "visitation by survivors and families of the deceased, discussions surrounding memorials, and possible facade modification."

It is unclear at this time what reconfigurations will be made.

Hogan released a statement regarding the theater announcement Friday afternoon:

"I am pleased the victims, families of the victims, our community and others had a chance to share their thoughts and feelings concerning the future of the theater. The responses indicate overwhelming support to reopen the theater with renovations. The theater has been a valued part of our community for many years, and just as they have been all along, I am confident Cinemark will continue to remain sensitive to victims, their families, their employees and our community throughout their process of remodeling and reopening."

We will always remember those who lost their lives and the many others impacted that day. While no one will ever forget that day, this is another step in the community's healing.

A Facebook survey conducted by the City of Aurora previously asked what should be done with the building.

The majority of those who responded to the survey said they support reopening the theater, according to city spokesperson Kim Stewart.

Early Thursday morning, the City of Aurora took down a temporary memorial near the theater.

Victims' families will still have access to the items that were removed from the memorial site.

Everything left at the site in the two months since the theater shooting was archived and sent to a warehouse.

Only a sign and a few fresh flowers sat on the site Thursday evening, which had been full of crosses, candles, and other items.

The white crosses are gone as well.

For two months they sat across from the theater, one for each of the 12 theater shooting victims.

Families must decide if they'll keep the crosses, or if they'll go into storage along with all the other items, which were collected and archived by volunteers from the Aurora History Museum.

All the wreaths and flowers are gone as well, recycled and used as mulch in city parks.

9NEWS asked about a permanent memorial for the theater shooting victims.

A city spokesperson says it will happen eventually, but "now is not the time."

A Cinamark representative released the following statement:

The theater remains concerned about the Victims' and Witnesses' well-being and is open to the possibility of potential visits to the theater. If you would like further information, please contact attorney Amanda Wiley at 303-951-0268 by this Friday, September 28th.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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