First Responders Park Expansion

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Westerville’s First Responders Park (FRP) was first dedicated in 2010 to honor the service and sacrifice of all first responders. The centerpiece to the park was a section of steel known as “C-40” from the north tower of the World Trade Center that fell during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Later, on October 9, 2011, the City dedicated a privately funded sculpture, “The Crossing,” which honors a fallen Westerville firefighter, David Theisen. In 1998, David was killed while battling a fire in Crooksville, Ohio.

On February 10, 2018, Westerville Division of Police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty. As the community worked to cope with this tragic loss, plans to create a permanent police memorial were expedited. The state of Ohio generously donated $500,000 to be used in fiscal year 2018 to the project.

The following represents initial plans to upgrade a park that honors all first responders and to create a lasting memorial space for our local fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice. These concepts were created with a committee including the Westerville Chiefs of Police and Fire, as well as other representatives from the City's police, fire, communications and administrative divisions.

Before the losses we suffered as a community, this project was considered for expansion because its size could not accommodate large community gatherings and noise from the street disrupted events. It has always been the intent of the City to be inclusive of all first responders. All elements of the existing park, including commemorative bricks, will be incorporated into the redesigned space.

The committee adopted the proposed concepts guided by this mission:
This park will help us remember and honor Westerville's First Responders. Respect this ground, made sacred through their love, sacrifice and tragic loss. Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage and spirit of those who risked their lives to save others and the compassion of those who support us in our darkest hours.

Landscape architecture firms POD Design and McGill Smith Punshon provided design services free of charge to honor Morelli and Joering. Designs from memorials around the globe were used to inspire the park in form and function, which are illustrated in the renderings below.

First Responders Park

Updated on 07/10/2018 5:51 PM

These slides show a conceptual plan presented to Westerville City Council on Monday, July 2. Additional thoughts on the conceptual plan and the location of "The Crossing" statue were provided at the meeting and are being considered by the committee. Public feedback is encouraged and may be submitted through Wednesday, Aug. 1 to 1stresponderspark@westerville.org.