Hundreds gather to dedicate Jessica’s park
(Oct 10, 2013)
Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park was dedicated Oct. 5 during a brief ceremony. About 800 people joined in an emotional program to honor Jessica and celebrate her life.
“As I look out at the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park, I hear the laughter of children. I see Jessica’s smile,” said Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally.
“What Jessica leaves as a legacy is much bigger than a park. She reminded us how precious life is and how fleeting it can be,” said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.
Christine Ridgeway, Jessica’s grandmother, also spoke, telling the crowd, “I see people who helped create a park full of Jessica’s smiles and love.” She was joined on the stage by Jessica’s mother, Sarah, and Jessica’s aunt, Rebecca.
All five cut a ceremonial purple ribbon to open the park. The Ridgeway family also released 10 purple balloons into the air to honor Jessica and her 10 years of life.
The Butterfly Pavilion presented the Ridgeway family with a framed set of butterflies in Jessica’s memory.
Butterflies were one of her favorites and are a theme at the park, along with the colors purple and green, playful ribbons and knock-knock jokes provided by her classmates at nearby Witt Elementary School.
The park, at 10765 Moore St., cost about $650,000 to complete, with most of the money coming from donations and grants. Nearly 400 donors gave to the fundraising campaign. In addition to financial contributions nearly 300 people from the community (including City of Westminster employees) volunteered their labor to help build the playground.