Online auction to benefit fund for Aurora’s 7/20 memorial garden


AURORA | Backers of a proposed memorial garden to honor the victims of the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting are about halfway to their $200,000 fundraising goal.

And they’re hopeful a massive eBay auction this spring will put them over the top.

“It seems like this fundraiser is going to be probably the biggest that we have had,” said Heather Dearman, a member of the city’s 7/20 Committee.

In recent months, the fundraising efforts to build the garden near the Aurora Municipal Center have netted almost $100,000, Dearman said.

The Aurora Chamber’s 2015-16 Leadership Aurora Class has made fundraising for the garden a top priority.

Through April 14, the class is collecting items — particularly sports memorabilia, gift certificates and other items — to be auctioned in April.

Chad Nielsen, marketing manager for Wagner Equipment, said the auction is deliberately broad, both in terms of what they are selling and who will be buying.

Rather than host a silent auction that would require the class to rent a space and convince people to come in person, the eBay auction — slated to run from April 6 to April 16 — is open to anybody, anywhere. 

“We’re trying to set some ambitious goals,” he said.

The Chamber’s annual class sets out to complete one major project along with several smaller ones. Nielsen said that after meeting with Mayor Steve Hogan last year, the class was convinced tackling the garden was the best use of their time.

The garden will be not just a place to remember an honor the victims, but show that the city stuck together during an incredibly dark time, he said.

“Something bad happened but we are going to stay strong and move forward,” he said.

Heather Dearman, whose cousin Ashley Moser was wounded in the shooting and niece Veronica was killed, said she looks forward to what a completed memorial garden  it will say about Aurora and how the city responded to tragedy.

“For years to come people are going to be able to say, ‘Look what resilience Aurora has,’” she said.

For more on the fundraiser or to donate, visit