Richmond Hill victim's dad wants park at explosion site

Neighbors agree park is good idea

INDIANAPOLIS - The father of a victim of the Richmond Hill explosion wants his son's property to be converted into a park.

Coneflowers are in bloom on the property, and they were likely planted byJohn 'Dion' Longworth, who died in the blast.

Coneflowers are tough plants with coarse foliage. They don’t go away. They are strong reminders.

The flowers survived what Dion Longworth and his wife Jennifer Longworth did not.

The explosion destroyed their home in the 8300 block of Fieldfare Way last November.

Prosecutors said their next door neighbor Monserrate Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Bob Leonard plotted the crime to collect insurance money.

Longworth’s father has been drawn to the scene for many reasons, but mostly because of the beauty of the 20 different varieties of flowers that his son planted.

Gardening was a way of life for Dion Longworth. He loved the soil and the flowers he could grow.

“At some point I know they have to clear all of this out. Regardless of what happens to it, I want to save as many flowers as possible. If we could make a community park out of it and have some of his flowers, that would be great,” John Longworth said.

Neighbors agreed a park would resonate well in the community.

“It would be a reminder that bad things can change into good things. It would be a remembrance of those two people, John and Jennifer,” neighbor Nick Hlavaty said.

“We are already a close-knit community. That will give us a place to gather and talk,” neighbor Michelle Smith said.

Longworth said he wanted the park to become a reality sometime after the jury trial and sentencing set for sometime in 2014.

Longworth said he has to do some fundraising because he wants the park to be self-sustaining and not become a maintenance burden for the city or county.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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