Memorial Planned For Sowell Victims

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CLEVELAND -- It was the site of unbelievable horror, but the land where convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell’s house stood could become a place of peace.

Plans were unveiled to place a memorial where eleven women were murdered.

On the vacant lot where Anthony Sowell's house on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland once stood, there's a small memorial. It has 14 plants, apparently representing the 11 women who he is convicted of killing inside the home and the three women who got away.

Thursday evening, relatives of some of the murdered women got a chance to look at three designs for a memorial on the site, designed by three different groups of architects.

Many relatives still had raw emotions and varying opinions.

Joann Moore's sister Janice Webb was one of the victims. She said all of the architects did a great job, but she liked one the best.

"It seems more peaceful, this, I guess, maybe looking at the angle of this, it just seems like there's nothing there but some trees and grass [trees]...that is a playground [park] and I'm totally against a playground being there," Moore said.

Christine Shobey liked another one. Her niece, Kim Smith, was one of the women killed.

"I think it's a more accurate view of how the neighborhood looks in general, I mean, these over here are nice, but this is actual reality over here," said Shobey.

"Each one provides a pathway to be able to move through the site; each one provides a space to be able to gather. The hope is that people will be able to use the site, take advantage of it, to bring a nice, positive activity there, to take away the blemish that lies in that neighborhood," said one of the architects, Kevin Robinette.

Moore's sister said she will visit the site when it is first built, but probably never again.

"It's nothing good about the memories there. If that had been a place that we grew up and we played, yeah, but that's a place where she took her last breath, no," she said.

"It's about a celebration of life. We cannot change what happened there, but we can certainly enhance; we can make the families certainly feel good about what we're doing," said Rev. Jimmy Gates, chairman of the Imperial Coalition, which is comprised of a group of local pastors.

The estimated cost of the three memorials range from $175,000 to $480,000. Designers said the city of Cleveland has already put aside some money for the project in its 2014 budget.

They hope the memorial is built next year.

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