Volunteers finish Somer's Sunshine Park

Published On: Mar 24 2012 04:32:34 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 24 2012 05:15:09 PM EDT
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -

Volunteers put the finishing touches on Somer's Sunshine Park on Saturday. The park is named in honor of Somer Thompson, a 7-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 2009.

The park is on the corner of Debarry and Gano Avenues in Orange Park.

Dozens of volunteers like Beth Dimeo heard about the idea and decided it was worth working on.

"I think it's beautiful. I really do. I think she was a beautiful little girl," said Dimeo.

Like so many parents, Dimeo said she was hit hard by Thompson's murder in 2009. Dimeo has two young daughters, 9 and 7-years-old.

"The whole story, as negative as it is, let's do something positive, and getting my kids involved, making them aware," she said.

John Reinheimer owns Bold City Irrigation, a landscaping business, and donated thousands of dollars worth of supplies and labor.

"It's just a place to come and think and I guess figure out how lucky you are and how said things turn out," he said.

"A lot of plants we used are what we call 'butterfly plants.' That was one of Somer's favorite things, butterflies. But that way you can get your family. You have the benches. You can sit and see the butterflies and just meditate a little bit," said Reinheimer.

Larry Klaybor designed the acre of land and said the whole process, from start to finish, has only taken a few months.

"We wanted a passive park that people could come and sit and just enjoy the little tree area we have and we wanted to remember Somer Thompson and this is a great way to do that," said Klaybor.

Klaybor added that they hope students walking home from school enjoy the park.

"We hope they get to stop and hang out and run around a little bit and enjoy the park, too, just like we will," he said.

The park is expected to open to the public on April 5th, Somer Thompson's birthday.

Jarred Harrell was sentenced to 6 life sentences after pleading guilty to kidnapping, raping, and murdering Thompson.

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