The Cleveland gazebo where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police will be removed Wednesday, nearly two years after his death, authorities say.
Seeing the gazebo in her neighborhood was difficult for Tamir’s mother, Samaria, according to her attorney Bill Joe Mills. Rice asked her city councilman that it be removed from the park at the Cudell Recreation Center.
The gazebo will be disassembled and stored to eventually be a part of an art exhibit, according to Mills.
Though at first it seemed best to demolish the structure, Samaria Rice and her family ultimately “hope to elevate the gazebo into a symbol of the civil rights movement,” Mills told CNN.
The Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago has discussed preserving the gazebo for an exhibit in their facility, a spokesperson told CNN.
Since the city had planned to demolish and rebuild neighboring Marion Seltzer Elementary School, which Tamir Rice once attended, the idea of removing the gazebo seemed to appeal to all community concerns, according to Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone, who represents the district where Rice was killed.
Community meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks at which residents will begin the formal planning process to determine how the recreational space will be used in tandem with the elementary school when the rebuilding process begins in early 2017, according to Zone.
A tree will be planted in the new space with a stone memorial plaque placed in memory of Tamir, according to Zone. This is not far from where a memorial marker commemorates Cleveland police Officer Robert Clark, who was killed in the line of duty in 1996, Zone said.
“We’ve got to move on. We’re turning the chapter here,” Zone told CNN. ” But we’re not trying to whitewash anything or walk away from this.”
Tamir’s sister participates in the Butterfly Project that began nearly one year ago in Tamir’s memory to help local children cope with their grief. The children have decorated the Cudell Recreation Center and the gazebo.
Tamir Rice was holding a pellet gun when Officer Timothy Loehmann fired the fatal shots within two seconds of arriving outside the recreation center, where the sixth-grader was playing with the pellet gun on November 22, 2014. The boy died a day later.
He had been playing in the park near his home.
A witness called 911, reporting there was “a guy with a pistol,” adding that the weapon was “probably” fake. Loehmann said he thought the boy appeared older and had a real gun.
In December 2015, a grand jury chose not to indict the two responding police officers.