Victims' relatives view Cleveland Imperial Avenue memorial ideas

CLEVELAND - A children's play area and a reflective pool are among proposed designs for a memorial at the site where the remains of 11 women were found in a serial killer's home.

A coalition of pastors, community leaders and others showed potential designs to relatives of some of the victims at a meeting Thursday.

One coalition member, the Rev. Jimmy Gates, told The Plain Dealer newspaper that the victims' families will help decide which design is selected.

Public and private funding would be used for the memorial at the former property of Anthony Sowell, who was convicted and sentenced to death. He appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking a new trial or sentencing hearing.

Sowell's two-story house has been torn down and the memorial would be built on the vacant lot.

Variations in three designs include a playground, stone walkways, benches, a portal entry, landscapes, lighted paths and a reflective pool. Cost estimates range from $175,000 to $480,000 depending on the design.

A relative of one victim doesn't like the idea of a play area at the memorial. "Its focus should be on the 11 women, not the kids," said Debbie Williams, aunt of victim Telacia Fortson.

Joanne Moore, the sister of victim Janice Webb, said she does not want anything on the property.

"I don't think it would be a proper place to have a memorial, but they are going to do what they do," Moore said.

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