Westminster, Jessica Ridgeway, Park Dedication, Memorial Park, 80021
Last Saturday marked a bitter sweet day for the Westminster community as residents gathered to dedicate the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park The site located at 10765 Moore St was formerly known as Chelsea Park, but became a symbol of hope and communal unity last fall when Jessica went missing on her way to school.
The park was dedicated with a ribbon cutting and memorial ceremony on the first anniversary of the 10 year old’s disappearance. Jessica’s family, friends, and neighbors gathered along with the Westminster Police Chief to celebrate a life lost too soon. Support for Jessica’s family is still obvious in the quiet neighborhood; nearly every home still has a purple ribbon tied on either the mailbox or oak tree in the front yard, tattered and faded from never being taken down in a year’s time.
Construction for the park’s makeover began not even a full year ago, with all funding provided by donations from the community. Many local organizations and support groups suggested the idea to change Chelsea Park into some type of memorial for Jessica Ridgeway even before she was discovered deceased. The park’s original sign was covered by a neighbor with a home made banner reading, “Jessica Park” during the early stages of the search. This banner remained until construction began on the new park in November of last year.
Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park now greets visitors with a new sign on the side of a tall flower garden, with a butterfly wind directional as it’s center piece, that can been seen from blocks away. Just a few steps into the park is a picnic area with a huge spiral of Jessica’s favorite knock-knock jokes engraved into the pavement.
A brand new play ground features ribbon shaped swings, zip lines, teeter totters, slides, and monkey bars, all in Jessica’s favorite color purple, and green, the color used to show support for missing children. A brand new basket ball court and baseball diamond sit in the center of the park surround by newly planted trees dedicated to other children who were lost at a tragic age. Some of these trees even have brick tiles laid at their base with messages from family members painted on them.
Perhaps the most unique and heart felt feature of the 3.2 acre park are the large, metal, purple ribbons sprinkled though out the grounds of the park, forever reminding joyful frolicking children and adults that this was once Jessica’s favorite place to play as well.