In November, Fourth District Cleveland Police officers, residents and others gathered to officially dedicate the Officer Derek Owens Memorial Park. The inclusive neighborhood park was built on three vacant lots on Parkview Avenue in Cleveland encompassing the site where Patrol Officer Derek Owens was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2008. The Park was made possible through a partnership between the Saint Luke’s Foundation, Buckeye Square Development Corporation, the Cleveland Police Foundation and others, with the support of Councilman Kenneth Johnson.
“Officer Derek Owens Memorial Park was designed to be a reflection of who Derek Owens was and what was important to him – service,” says Captain Keith Sulzer, of the Cleveland Police Department’s Community Policing division and Liaison to the Cleveland Police Foundation. “The park has an area for families to gather, a section representing his family, a place for reading with a Little Free Library offering books to children, and an area for thought and reflection. This park has transformed a place that was the site of a tragedy into a place of hope and celebration of life,” says Sulzer.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank conveyed one of the properties on Parkview Avenue to the Cleveland Police Foundation, which assembled the land needed to make the memorial a reality.
“The Cleveland Police Foundation could not have built this wonderful space without the generosity of many community partners,” says Sulzer. “The Cuyahoga Land Bank allowed us to transform this space that was once a cluttered mess into a quiet and peaceful sanctuary for children, community, and police officers.” The park officially opens in the spring of 2020.