Friends create memorial in Leo-Cedarville park for loved one who died by suicide; park board forces changes to alter memorial

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LEO-CEDARVILLE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – A few friends created a memorial in a Leo-Cedarville park for a loved one who died by suicide, however, park board officials have created a policy change, forcing family and friends to alter their loved one’s memorial.

Tina Clark said her daughter, Madison Clark, died by suicide back in 2016. Madison was a college student at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne.

Several loved ones including Madison’s high school friends were devastated, however, they came together and created a memorial at Riverside Gardens Park in Leo-Cedarville. Tina said her daughter’s friends raised more than $9,000 to create the memorial.

The memorial includes a tree, bush, picture of Madison as well as a stone with dates of Madison’s life.

Nearly a week ago, Tina said the park board returned her daughter’s picture to her family.

According to the Park Board meeting minutes, a policy change was discussed back in late September to remove all pictures and dates from memorials. The meeting minutes showed the change went into effect in November of 2018.

Park Board officials said they wanted to differentiate the difference between donations and memorials. While the Park Board welcomes donations, officials said they wanted to clarify the difference between donations and memorials as they believe both can be perceived differently.

A Park Board official said the park was not a cemetery or memorial and the board wants to look out for the best interest of the park.

Families and loved ones gathered at Monday’s Park Board meeting and shared their thoughts in hopes to keep their loved one’s picture and dates at the memorial. Park Board officials said they will take everyone’s feedback into consideration.

If you know anyone that may have suicidal thoughts, please contact the Suicide Prevention Resource Center immediately. Please click here for more information.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran

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