BA Memorial Park Groundbreaking At Site Of Former Bever Home
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - "This is probably one of the worst events to ever happen in Broken Arrow and now we're turning it into something positive," said Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurman.
Crews have broken ground on the location where the Bever family home once stood.
That's the home where Michael and Robert Bever killed their parents and three of their siblings in 2015.
Crews have already begun their work to turn the space into a park and memorial garden.
For Julie Wallis and her dog Sally, this has been a long time coming.
"I think this is our final step to our recovery," Wallis said. "We're getting better everyday and this will just put the icing on the cake."
Wallis lives just a few houses down from where the Bever home once stood.
Sally was the Bever family dog. Wallis took her in after the murders.
Wallis says the Bever home had become an ominous reminder of the tragedy.
"It was an oppressive entity of its own. It was kind of a big monster," she said.
The home mysteriously burned down last March. Investigators ruled it as an arson, but no one has since been arrested.
Now, it will become a serene butterfly garden with a gazebo dedicated to the five family members who lost their lives.
On Wednesday, the city broke ground on the plans and neighbors said they are excited for what the space will become.
“It's going to make a bad situation a little bit better," said one neighbor.
Pat McGaha lives right next door and says the garden will bring some peace to the site.
"I think it means a lot to all the neighbors, the first responders, and the police, the fire department," she said. "It's going to make a bad situation a little bit better."
Private donors from Broken Arrow and Tulsa donated about $50,000 for the project and several contractor and landscaping groups have volunteered time and money to go into the space.
The project is expected to take about three months to finish.