By Richard Valdmanis
BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston city workers and volunteers on Tuesday disassembled a makeshift memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in a move the mayor said he hoped would help the city "look to the future."
Crews arrived in Copley Square, near the marathon's finish line, shortly after dawn to remove teddy bears, crosses, flowers and photographs placed there since twin bombs killed three people and injured 264 others on race day, April 15.
The site had for weeks drawn family and friends of victims, some of whom left running shoes and hand-written posters with phrases such as "love is always louder" and "Boston, in our hearts forever" on police barricades left at the scene.
City officials announced last week that the memorial would be removed and its contents placed in the city archives.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to survivors and victims' families saying: "It is my hope that the respectful closing of the temporary memorial will help us all look to the future."
A victims' compensation fund that has amassed $58 million in donations will pay out in July.
Two ethnic Chechen brothers who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, were identified by the FBI as suspects in the bombing.
The younger of the two, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in prison awaiting trial. His older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police days after the bombing.
Tamerlan had been on a U.S. government database of potential terrorism suspects.
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Scott Malone and Andre Grenon)