More than 8 years after a dedication ceremony, the Precious Doe Memorial Park still isn’t built at the site where the remains of Erica Green’s mutilated body were discovered near 59th St. and Kensington Ave.
Police discovered the head of the 3-year-old in April of 2001, but it took four years for the remains to be identified.
Erica Green’s mother and mother’s husband were both convicted of murdering her. Jackson County’s assistant prosecutor in her case at the time, Tim Dollar, took the lead in pushing for the memorial park.
“We thought it a fitting tribute to take the area that was blighted and to try to transform that to a memorial area in honor of ‘Precious Doe’ as a gathering place for folks who may have had similar tragedies as a way to connect them, bond and continue to heal, but then as a reminder [that] we must never allow that to happen again,” said Dollar.
Dollar said he also envisioned the site as being a reminder of the power of tips. He said a tip once the case went cold lead to the successful prosecution.
In April of 2009, city leaders joined roughly 200 people near the recovery site for a dedication ceremony of the planned memorial park.
The plan called for 6-acres of land to be transformed into a park and walking trail with a bronze statue. The estimated cost of the site was set at approximately $250,000.
“I had the actual absolute commitment, near virtual promises from every member of the city council and clearly every member of the park board who oversees the area that they would follow through on their promise to make this happen. We raised a little bit of private money but nothing, nothing should prevent, and I know of nothing that was an impediment to the completion of that other than, bureaucracy,” said Dollar.
Dollar says City park officials claimed there were environmental issues to contend with before the project could move forward.
“I do know that there were some environmental studies on the site and that as a result of the studies people felt like there had to be some effort, some work done to make sure that it was safe,” said Dollar. “I acknowledge that, but that’s not an excuse for why it can’t and shouldn't be done. You figure out what needs to be done and you go do it, and nobody has and apparently, nobody will.”
A day after Erica Green would’ve turned 20 years old, the Director of Kansas City’s Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners says they are open to re-exploring the concept of a memorial park for “Precious Doe.”
“If Mr. Dollar still has an interest in it and sounds like he does, then it’s probably time for us to talk,” said Board Director Mark McHenry.
McHenry says he isn’t sure why the plan fizzled over the past 8 years but did point to potential funding issues and landscape excavating hurdles. McHenry also referenced Hibbs park upgrades, including a new playground and shelter area as efforts to honor Green.