Knoxville crews break ground on Zaevion Dobson Memorial Park

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — It has been just over a year since Fulton High School student and athlete Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting.

Knoxville Police Department called the teen a hero, saying he jumped in front of two girls to save them. Just a couple blocks away from the spot where Dobson was killed, a park is being built in his memory.

Related: 2 Knoxville girls forever grateful to Zaevion Dobson for saving their lives

“We wanted to do something that would give children, especially children who were younger than Zaevion, the opportunity to look up to someone from their community,” said Sean Gilbert Senior Vice President of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC).”Who dedicated his life — sacrificed his life — to save his friends here in Lonsdale.”

Zaevion Dobson Memorial Park is scheduled to open on April 26. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, crews started assembling the playground for the park.

The park is decked in Fulton High School’s color, burgundy, and will have a plaque dedicated to Zaevion Dobson at the entrance.

The Legacy Parks Foundation said the playground and park will include a memorial plaque for Zaevion Dobson, playground equipment for young children, a multipurpose lawn for sports and other activites, benches for adult supervision, security lighting and monitoring and maintenance by Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation.

KCDC, the city of Knoxville and Gerdau, a steel manufacturer located nearby have donated money to get get the $60,000 project off the ground. Gerdau Manager Gwen Reichel said she hopes the park will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice Zaevion Dobson made and the type of person he was.

“He really stood for watching out for his friends and family and we wanted to put something in place that would more permanently remember him and the kids,” said Reichel. “Provide a place for them that was safe where they could come play each and every day.”

More than 200 elementary school children living in the Lonsdale community will benefit from the park.

“We have a lot of people who live in this neighborhood who work for the plant,” said Reichel. “We are part of this neighborhood and we want to take care fo our own.”

More funds are needed to complete the park. Visit the Legacy’s Park Foundation’s website to make a donation.

Continuing coverage: Zaevion Dobson

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