CLEVELAND -- An urban garden established in memory of a murder victim was heavily damaged by storms.
The 5,000-square-foot, park-like green space in the middle of Prince Avenue will need extensive and potentially expensive repairs. The garden was created two years ago in memory of Daniel Lewis, who lived on the street for 34 years.
"He really helped the neighbors," Magnolia Lewis, 78, said of her late husband who was murdered in front of the couple's home on June 27, 2008.
Daniel Lewis was sitting in his wheelchair enjoying a pleasant evening when he was hit by a stray bullet fired by a young man.
Last Friday, high winds toppled a huge tree that stood at the entrance to the garden. The trunk and heavy branches smashed the garden's sign and damaged planters and other items.
It halted plans to improve and expand the park.
"That storm on Friday put everything on hold, but we have faith," said Debra Lewis-Curlee, the daughter of Daniel Lewis and Executive Director of the Mount Pleasant Community Zone organziation.
"We know that things are going to work out for us. We're still very proud of the garden and what is symbolizes. It symbolizes life, as the flowers come back naturally every year."
A tree removal expert surveyed the damage on Tuesday and hoped to be able to remove the dangerous remnants of the tree by the end of the week. Neighbors were eager to do what they could to help.
"Things have really changed since my husband was killed," Magnolia Lewis told WKYC. "They all came together and decided they wanted to do this, and they have just done wonderful."
She said her husband "did not die in vain," because of the legacy of community service and solidarity he left behind. "He did what he could for us and I'm very thankful."
The neighborhood hopes to acquire an adjacent lot from the land bank and plant a vegetable garden right next to the street park. They also plan to reinforce a brick wall at the rear of the garden and add benches and lighting.
Family members were pleased with how Daniel Lewis legacy seems to be sustaining the spirit of Prince Avenue, despite the tragic way in which he died.
"He's proud of us," said Lewis-Curlee, of her late father. "He's been watching over us, taking care of us, not only in our street and community but also our family."
Lewis-Curlee said any donations toward the job of restoring the memorial garden could be made by emailing her at the Mount Pleasant Community Zone, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (216)-752-3492.