Five years ago, civic leaders announced plans to raise money for a park in memory of Erica Green, the little girl who was known as Precious Doe before she and her killers were identified.
Predictably, the memorial park is nowhere near completion. Press conferences are easy. Getting things done is hard. Tim Dollar, a lawyer who helped try the case, is promising that the park will become a reality. But he and other members of the Precious Doe Committee, who will mark what would have been Green's 14th birthday on Sunday, may want to reconsider the idea of the park.
For 10 years, Kansas City has struggled with the proper way to mourn Green. The makeshift shrine that appeared in Hibbs Park, near the wooded lot at 59th Street and
Mersington Kensington where her body was found, became an eyesore. The Parks and Recreation Department eventually took down the canopy under which mourners left stuffed animals that would rot from exposure to the elements.
The parks department acquired the ground where Green's dismembered body was discovered. The transaction was recognized with a premature park dedication in 2009. The area remains a "tangle of woods," in the words of Mary Sanchez, who described the stalled effort to build a memorial for Green in Thursday's Kansas City Star.
Perhaps potential donors are worried that the park will just add to the inventory of under-utilized, overgrown city parks. Perhaps a Precious Doe memorial would feel too much like a necropolis. In any case, now seems like a good time to consider whether a scholarship or an annual fund drive for crisis prevention would accomplish more than a statue.