Arcadia playground to honor Clark brothers

Rendering of the Clark Brothers Memorial Playground in Arcadia. Ground-breaking is in August.

Condolences on social media sites scrolled on and on.

And now the city of Arcadia offers its tribute to three brothers killed in March 2017. Marcus, Kiani and Kemaren Clark get a city playground named in their honor in August. The Clark Brothers Memorial Playground will have swings, slides, climbing things, spinning wheels and other equipment for peewee kids up to pre-teens. And benches for those wishing to rest as the children recharge their batteries.

The park honors Arcadia commitments: Adding recreation to a neighborhood challenged by a lack of such things, and as a tribute to three boys remembered for their good nature and for the endless pursuit of playing, said Carl McQuay, the city’s code enforcement officer overseeing the park’s development. Marcus, Kiani and Kemaren were 10, 8 and 4, respectively. They died in an alleged arson.

“It’s the right thing to do,” McQuay said.

And their mother, who has left Arcadia, agreed. Kenya Lindsay said honoring her boys with a playground is “very helpful” in easing the loss. “For that, we are blessed.”

For now, though, what will become a park of colorful play fixtures and squealing kids is a field of grass and some scruffy trees. The single-family parcel on S. Lee Avenue at W. Ash Street is fenced on three sides. There was a home there owned by the boys’ grandfather. But in March 11, 2017, mostly quiet living vanished. Police allege that Marian Evette Williams in early hours set the home ablaze. She had a long criminal past. The grandfather and an adult woman escaped, but the visiting boys asleep perished. Williams set the fire in a quarrel with the grandfather, according to investigators. She remains in the DeSoto County jail. Finding a state certified public defender for a potential death-penalty trial has caused delays, police said. Arcadia demolished the home’s remains.

Public grief for the Clark brothers and their folks was loud, a GoFundMe account started for burial and other costs north of $25,000.

A park in their memory may help soften that pain with fresh batches of happy kids chasing after kickballs, swinging or laughing, as the Clark brothers had done in the short time they lived. A playground dedication is planned for August.

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