Tree of Life Synagogue, Site of 2018 Shooting, Gets $6.6M for Memorial and Worship Space

Just over three years after the shooting that killed 11 people and wounded seven others, the state of Pennsylvania has agreed to award $6.6 million to Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue for redevelopment of the area.

The funding comes from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which has previously awarded funding for 15 community redevelopment projects across the state, according to the Associated Press.

"Following the tragedy that occurred here, Pennsylvanians came together in solidarity to support the Tree of Life and the other congregations," Governor Tom Wolf said at a press conference Monday announcing the project. "We continue to stand with you today as the Tree of Life community works to reimagine this space into a welcoming place of reflection, education and healing.

The shooting on October 27, 2018, was the deadliest attack on Jewish people on American soil.

Earlier this year, architect Daniel Libeskind, master planner of New York City's reconstruction of the World Trade Center, agreed to lead the design for the complex.

The redesign reportedly will share space with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, with the intention of creating a memorial dedicated to those killed in the attack that also functions as a place to be used for regular activities.

"We are tremendously thankful to Governor Wolf for this significant and generous investment in our effort to establish a new and reimagined space that serves not only our congregation but all of Tree of Life's neighbors and the broader community," Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said at the Monday press conference.

"Our campaign and the grant that comes in support of it provide an opportunity to collectively renew our resolve to fight antisemitism and bigotry of all kinds, as we continue our journey of healing."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, Mass Shooting
Just over three years after the shooting that killed 11 people and wounded seven others, the state of Pennsylvania has agreed to award $6.6 million to Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue for redevelopment of the area. Above, the Tree of Life Synagogue on October, 27, 2019, the first anniversary of the attack. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The state funding will help "transform the site of the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history into a new place of hope, remembrance, and education," the Wolf administration said in a news release.

The defendant in the synagogue massacre awaits trial on more than 60 federal charges. Prosecutors are seeking the death sentence for 49-year-old Robert Bowers, who has pleaded not guilty.

Bowers opened fire during worship services inside the Tree of Life synagogue in October of 2018, killing eight men and three women and wounding seven others before police tracked him down and shot him, according to state and federal officials.

The former truck driver expressed hatred of Jews before and during the rampage and later told police that "all these Jews need to die," authorities said.