The searing images of a makeshift memorial to George Floyd, the black man who died beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer, have become iconic.

Soon, that shrine at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue may also become permanent.

City, state and community leaders are exploring ways to create a lasting tribute to Floyd at the intersection where he was killed — and where thousands of visitors have since paused, protested and prayed — that would remain long after the flowers and plywood paintings are cleared away.

Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council vice president, along with state Sen. Jeff Hayden and neighbors, say they want to commemorate the Memorial Day event that cost Floyd his life and fueled worldwide demands to fundamentally change policing.

"This is a conversation that is happening. There will be something memorializing George Floyd's life," said Jenkins, who represents the area.

Possibilities include a traffic roundabout, a peace garden, or perhaps a sculpture, said Jenkins, who added that she has spoken with Gov. Tim Walz and several members of Congress about the idea.

"I don't know if I can make promises right now, but I will be working to make a memorial at that site," she said. "And it will be something that is substantial. It will be more than a plaque, I'll tell you that."

Victoria Lauing, executive director of the nearby Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, said her organization has heard of informal discussions regarding a permanent memorial.

"As an arts organization based here, we are committed to sharing our resources to support community-driven responses, whether that is a permanent memorial, or other events and activities," she said in an e-mail.

The center is willing to listen to and support whatever the community decides to do, she said.

Hayden, assistant Senate minority leader who also represents the neighborhood, said he could see a traffic circle or roundabout — with a memorial to Floyd at the center.

While the community should help determine a memorial's exact form, he said, it's critical that Floyd's "murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer" be permanently commemorated for healing to occur.

"It's an atrocity. ... You don't want to forget it," Hayden said. "And we're destined to do it again if we don't remember it — if we don't tell the story."

Earlier this week, as dozens of visitors quietly walked through the intersection taking pictures and capturing video, Rico Morales used duct tape to affix signs and posters both praising and mourning Floyd to the windows of Cup Foods.

Just a few feet away from the spot in front of the store where Floyd made his last gasps for air, Morales talked about a memorial that could include a community garden, a traffic circle and maybe an interactive display where visitors can learn about Floyd's life as well as his death.

Morales, who said his main job at Cup Foods is food safety manager, said he's in charge of helping make a permanent memorial a reality. It's important work, he said.

"It's important to have the longevity and the permanence of a memorial to a life that was taken by brutality and violence," he said. "Also to have a space for the community to have a place to come with your feelings, your emotions, your memories."

Until a permanent memorial is decided, Morales said, he doesn't expect the temporary tributes — the paintings, the flowers, the brown wooden raised fist at the center of the intersection — to be taken away anytime soon.

Nor does he expect Chicago Avenue to reopen to traffic.

"That's up to the community. That's up to the people, basically working with the city," Morales said, adding he would prefer it stay closed for as long as needed. "I mean, that would be the worst thing for the city workers or staff to do is to come in and just say, 'OK, this is over now. Your grieving and your mourning process is over now.' That's not for anybody to decide. Hopefully, that will happen naturally and organically."

Sitting nearby and holding a Black Lives Matter sign was Patricia Rogers, who has been visiting the site since Floyd was killed.

The growing makeshift memorial "brings a lot of light, a lot of life and it brings everyone together with a real feeling of peace," she said.

She would like to see a permanent memorial, maybe a "huge" statue of Floyd, perhaps something that would list the names of other black men and women killed by police.

"I would love it," Rogers said. "A lot of people do come here for peace, you know, and to pray. You get redemption. As minorities, we don't really have places that we can go and pray and reflect. They need to make Chicago 'George Floyd Avenue.' "

Less than 400 feet away from where Floyd was pinned on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind his back, Jamie LaBlanche watched his little ones.

A stay-at-home dad, LaBlanche has also taken on an unofficial role as neighborhood guide to the countless visitors to the site over the past two-plus weeks.

"Being that I'm a person of color as well, I have been out in the community letting people see my face, making sure they feel welcome," he said. "I've talked to rural white people from 45 minutes past Brainerd who came down here to see what it was like."

Although the constant traffic and noise from crowds of visitors and protesters has meant only a few hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, LaBlanche said the peace the memorial has brought to the neighborhood has made it worth it. He hopes, too, that the site becomes home to a lasting monument — it's been that important to helping spread understanding, he said.

"Honestly, before this happened, we were looking at moving," he said. "But now? I think I need to be here. And I think [a permanent memorial] would be really good for the community."

James Walsh • 612-673-7428