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Collierville vets donate land to benefit memorial park in Lakeland

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Collierville veterinarians James Murphy and Hank Wright, along with a family remembering lost loved ones have found a win-win situation that also benefits the people of Lakeland.

The Pet Hospitals-Lakeland has a building project next to Zadie E. Kuehl Park, named for the six-month-old Lakeland infant who was killed along with her mother, Stefanie, and her unborn child when a drunk driver hit their vehicle in May 1997. Murphy and Wright, with The Pet Hospitals-Collierville, proposed dedicating several acres of their land next to the park and adding a new access road for the small park to open it up to the public more.

In return they asked the city for a reduction in city fees for their construction project. Lakeland’s mayor and board were happy to accept the offer formally at the Nov. 10 city board meeting.

Zadie’s grandfather is Dave Brown, retired from WMC Action News 5. Last week he spoke about his appreciation for the way the veterinarians, developers and city joined forces to help the park that memorializes his second grandchild.

Having the park has been a special solace for his family.

“Zadie never got a chance to play in a park, but we knew other children would,” Brown said.

Over the years, his other grandchildren enjoyed visiting the spot, calling it “Zadie’s Park.” Brown, his wife, and Zadie’s father, Greg, all attended a meeting at the park recently about the proposed land dedication and were pleased about the proposal.

There were a few years where the equipment was not in perfect condition, he said, so he’s glad to see a revived interest in the small public space.

Zadie E. Kuehl Park is at 3065 Yukon Drive in the Canada Woods subdivision, near the intersection of Canada Road and Saskatoon Drive. The three-acre park offers a 1/5-mile paved jogging trail, pavilion, drinking fountain and playground.

With this new proposal, Lakeland is accepting the dedication of 4.2 acres of land from the owners, who are building a veterinary clinic on Canada Road north of U.S. 64, between Corner Shops and the Canada Woods Subdivision. The land dedication will be used for a future dog park as well as to provide access to the park from Canada Road.

The approximate value of the dedication, based on their contract price, is $406,746.46. The city allows the waiver of certain development fees as allowed in exchange for the land dedication, as requested by the developers. (There is one exception; the sewer development fee cannot be waived because it is associated with an enterprise fund.)

Estimated development fees based on the preliminary site plan currently total $28,735.25.

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