Park dedicated to youngest Jan. 8th shooting victim - Tucson News Now

Park dedicated to youngest Jan. 8th shooting victim

Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There are symbols everywhere, with signs of youthful wonder. Those are the Christina-Taylor Green mementos on display bringing joy to her family and friends.

"It'll be a place of our own where we can look up and see Christina-Taylor's name and know that we created something good in her honor,” said her father, John Green.

More than a hundred people got a first look Sunday, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, of the revitalized Cañada del Oro Christina-Taylor Green Memorial River Park. It pays homage to the youngest of the six people killed in the January 8, 2011 shooting that targeted former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.

According to the Pima County website more than $109,000 was raised to renovate and provide new additions to the park. The new items include a statue of a young boy and girl reading on a tree branch, a central seating plaza, a butterfly garden, and botanical trail. 

John Green said he enjoyed watching the project progress through the various stages.

"That's been one of the, I think, healing things of this whole process," he said.

The park's new name is also now attached, with signs all over showing the dedication. They are also signs and reminders of a tragic story for nurse Nancy Bowman.

"I kept screaming to my husband, who was there on scene, 'there's a little girl. There's a little girl!'"

The story is vivid in the mind of Bowman and her husband, a surgeon, who were both at the January 8, 2011 shooting scene. Jared Lee Loughner killed six and injured Giffords and 12 others in the 2011 shooting. He was sentenced to life in prison. Bowman said she was one of the first people at Christina-Taylor's side, working to rescue the child. For her, the 9-year-old Green's life is whittled down to that one, brief image. 

"My memories of Christina-Taylor are horrible. Horrible memories of a little girl dying on a cold sidewalk," she said.

It's why Bowman was one of many at the park's dedication Sunday working to build new memories. She was also one of many who may have never known the real Christina-Taylor Green the way her father did. She was the little "facilitator," as he called her.

"What it means to me, is that Christina-Taylor has been able to bring this community together. And after the tragedy, that's one thing we felt; the whole community wrap their arms around us," John Green said.

"It's changed my perspective of who Christina-Taylor Green is, and was. She is a beautiful girl who had lots of hopes and dreams," Bowman said. "You look at her parents, and you look at this park, and you look at the people who loved her, and you get a very good sense of what a wonderful person she was."

Bowman and the community are now able to look at the Green family and see loving memories, and want them to stay that way.

"A lot of her teachers and other students are here so you know what kind of person she was," she said. "Because six years later they still have that."

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