Its impractical...

Sharon - posted on 01/03/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )




This man wants to build & dedicate a park to a little girl who was murdered. YAY! If we did this for every murdered child, the earth would be covered in parks (not a bad thought but really? Its impractical)

HICKORY, N.C.-- Rick Rozzelle can still see her face.

“She was really wide-eyed looking around at this store and all the things in it,” he said, of the girl with the prosthetic leg he saw in September.

Rozzelle is sure the little girl was Zahra Baker.

He said she was “scanning the whole place like she was happy to be there and was having a good time.”

Rozzelle also keeps a picture of Zahra Baker on his computer screen saver to keep him motivated about a project he came up with to honor her memory – an idea that is gaining support around Hickory.

He wants to build a park where children with disabilities can play alongside those without them.

"Something that makes kids light up when they get there, makes them want to come back,” said Rozzelle, “Give them an opportunity to play with other children with all special needs and abilities, as well as non-challenged kids."

Originally, he just envisioned swing sets or other playground equipment.

Then his church encouraged him to dream bigger – a playground and park with ball fields and other handicapped-accessible venues.

The idea caught on with community groups.

Offers to help are already pouring in – e-mails offering advice, money, and fundraising help.

A Facebook page called “Let’s build a park in Zahra’s memory” has more than 300 members, and Saturday showed a post from Hickory mayor Rudy Wright pledging support.

So far, he’s had to turn down all of the donations because he wants to establish the group as a legitimate non-profit organization before he accepts money. It’s legal and logistical help he needs right now.

"A nonprofit organization or an attorney or an accountant to step up and help us with that so we can start collecting donations that we're having to turn down right now," he said.

There’s so much to think about for such a big project. He has a to-do list that keeps growing by the day as he talks to groups that help the disabled and others who can help him get organized.

Rozzelle has a lot of contacts because of his years as a local T-ball coach.

But what keeps him motivated is the memory of the young girl whose face smiles back at him each day from his computer.

He wants everyone to remember her face and her story.

"I felt like our community needed some kind of guidance and healing as well as the rest of the world,” said Rozzelle. "I just want to cover a scar maybe."

Rozzelle is hosting a community meeting to discuss ideas on Thursday, January 13, at 6pm, at the Golden Corral on Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd.

To view the “Let’s build a park in Zahra’s memory” Facebook page click here.

I was reading the comments - someone seemed angry that there was no park dedicated to the police officers and maybe firemen ....

I didn't even read the whole thing. My brain fired up and said "Yeah? dude wtf? my own town has a veterans park" Other than the name - there is nothing there to show what veterans the park honors. Does it honor all veterans from all wars from every where in the world? I guess it does.

I was thinking the best thing to do is build or rededicate parks in the name of groups. Police, firemen, murdered children, then there is a plaque where names can be added, pictures maybe,... then certain things can be dedicated to those who particularly stand out... the fireman who died saving 12 family members or something like that will have a bench with a plaque detailing his story.

The murdered handicapped child could have the highest slide dedicated to her.. I'm not sure we want her sad story there for all children to read but maybe we should?

These people need to be remembered. Tucson has a park dedicated to a boy who survived being abducted by a pedophile but his friend, who was abducted with him, didn't. Maybe its named after the dead kid.

What do you guys think?


April - posted on 01/03/2011




i see nothing wrong with this. there are plenty of places dedicated to veterans or police officers, etc... (benches, monuments, cemeteries have been dedicated to veterans)

Becky - posted on 01/03/2011




I think the idea of building an inclusive park is fantastic. And him dedicating it to this particular little girl over other kids doesn't bother me. It sounds like her death was a big story that hit the community, or at least this man, hard. If he wants to build a park and dedicate it to her memory, why not? I don't think it belittles the memories of other chidlren who have been murdered in any way.

Jackie - posted on 01/03/2011




I honestly think it a great idea.

Maybe this story hit "close to home" for him for one reason or another. He's making a nice gesture and I don't think that there is anything wrong with that at all. He's making a handicapped park because she was handicapped. People will find anything to bitch about. I mean no offense by that. What I mean is why criticize someone for trying to a good thing?

Jenny - posted on 01/03/2011




Let's all have a park called "Bad Things Happen to Good People Park" and be done with it. In 200 years every building, park and road in sight is going to be a dedication at this rate.


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Mother - posted on 01/04/2011




I think its a great idea, not impractical. Its not just ANY park the man wants to build but rather a special needs accessible one. This would enable ALL children to be able to play.

I think it shows that he has a kind and gentle soul.

Jackie - posted on 01/04/2011




"I mean really? Is her death any more tragic because it took a while to find her body than the infant who was used a punching bag but was found immediately? "

I totally understand that. If I had the money or the resources, I would totally try to do something to remember all of the little babies that were neglected and abused and murdered. It truly breaks my heart into a million little pieces :( But I have to agree Nicole. I think this is to remember who she was in life. Her story made a huge impact on the community. Hell, I think they should build something in dedication to her even if she wasn't murdered because she had such hardships when she was alive.

Jodi - posted on 01/03/2011




Normally, I would say, wouldn't a slide, or a special swing set be enough of a dedication? BUT, coming from a small town (one in which I can't remember there ever being a murder) I could see, and support, someone dedicating a park. There is a whole whopping two parks in my town, neither of them even remotely handicapp accessible. I have no idea how large or small of a city it is this man lives in, but it would make sense for a small town like mine if something like that happened here. JMO

Nicole - posted on 01/03/2011




I think that a park dedicated to a little girl, and suited to meet the needs of kids like how, who have disabilities, is much less morbid than a park dedicated to murdered kids.

If it's a remembrance park, it would be about celebrating the child she was in life, not the murder. “She was really wide-eyed looking around at this store and all the things in it,” he said, of the girl with the prosthetic leg he saw in September. That is a memory of a living girl, not the momeory of a murder.

I do find this quote interesting, ""I felt like our community needed some kind of guidance and healing as well as the rest of the world,” said Rozzelle. "I just want to cover a scar maybe." So is the park a memorial or a distraction? Someone died, quick SEND IN THE CLOWNS!

Sharon - posted on 01/03/2011




Oh man - no way an I criticising this guy. I think what he wants to do is fantastic.

Especially as his town has no such facility. I'm just thinking about all of those whose deaths didn't make the news and those who did make the news but didn't make as big a splash.

I mean really? Is her death any more tragic because it took a while to find her body than the infant who was used a punching bag but was found immediately?

I dunno - her story "hits" me a little more... she fought cancer and won, she lost her leg, she moved from one country to another, got stuck with a LOUSY stepmother, a father whose interest was waning in his own daughter and that lack of interest led to her death... fucking insane.

Sharon - posted on 01/03/2011




lol jenny - You're optimistic aren't you? I would think in the next year .....

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I don't really care who the park is dedicated too, but this particular park is going up in Hickory NC which is not far from me. There are currently only 2 parks in my area that cater to handicapped and "normal" children. I live in a bigger metropolitan area (though still small by most standards) in Upstate SC. There are no parks like the one he is envisioning in that area of NC, so I think the park is a wonderful idea. I do not think the dedication is the best idea, but there need to be parks designed for handicapped children to play along with regular children, so the fact that it is dedicated to the murdered child would not discourage me from supporting the park. I do think it would be more suited to dedicate it to disabled kids, or to people who work with disabled kids, but again, I don't care who it's dedicated to, as long as it gets built.

Katherine - posted on 01/03/2011




Rededication is a great idea. Building new things not so much. It sounds like this guy is obsessed!

Won't a statue do?

Edit to add: Ther is no need to add a park, building or other large thing if one already exists. I think it's a wonderful tribute, but IMO a statue would be just as nice.

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