New site to honor Krystal proposed | NevadaAppeal.com
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New site to honor Krystal proposed

Gregory Crofton

A Stateline resident has an idea of where a memorial for Krystal Steadman can go – on land right next to where she was murdered.

Jan Christensen lives on Kahle Drive, next to the former site of an apartment complex where the 9-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in March 2000.

Christensen says she came up with the idea when she found out last month that a large steel cross erected for Steadman along Highway 50 between Spooner Summit and Carson City had been removed.

Christensen is chairwoman of the Oliver Park General Improvement District, the end of Kahle Drive being redeveloped. Christensen said a memorial for Krystal could be erected on county land within the redeveloped area.

Permits issued for the redevelopment project, a 32-unit affordable-housing complex, leave the deed for a portion of the land to the county so it can maintain required sediment traps and water-retention ponds.

County manager Dan Holler said Friday he did not know if the land had come under country control yet. Even when it does, he said, there would be a number of factors to consider.

“We’d have to take a look to see if there is any usable property,” Holler said. “Then there are TRPA and other permitting issues, and there are concerns, with ponds in the area, that it doesn’t create a hazard for people.”

Christensen raised the idea last month at the Douglas County Commission meeting. The commissioners did not respond to it because it was mentioned during a time set aside for general comments.

Christensen said she will request that the proposal be put on the agenda.

“I want to do it big time,” she said. “There’s plenty of room on the side of the retention ponds so the county could do something.

“If they want to put something else in rather than the cross, we could do that, too. I was just thinking the cross was already made.”

The 8-foot cross is being stored at Blue Mountain Steel in Carson City. The Nevada Department of Transportation removed it after someone complained it represented establishment of religion on the roadside.

Gary James, who installed the cross on Highway 50 where Krystal’s body was found, said he is applying for a permit from NDOT so a section of the cross can be put back at the memorial site. At a little shorter than 3 feet, what he is proposing would be less visible from the road.

James can apply for a permit, but nothing will be allowed alongside the road until the agency conducts public hearings and approves a statewide policy for roadside memorials, said Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman. Hearings will be organized for Northern and Southern Nevada sometime next year, Magruder said.

Krystal’s sister, Sonya Klempner of South Lake Tahoe, said relocating the memorial is an interesting idea, but the project would have to be done correctly.

“The message was taken the wrong way the last time,” Klempner said. “I’d want to be sure the message is a lot more obvious to people.”

The message she would want the memorial to emphasize is one of community safety.

“It’s the community’s responsibility to protect children,” she said. “There were a lot of little loopholes that happened with my sister that could have been avoided.”