Groundbreaking held for Lauren Hill Memorial Park
The park will honor a Tri-State basketball player who responded to an incurable illness with heroism and resolve.
DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. (WXIX) - Officials in Greendale on Monday broke ground on a memorial park for Lauren Hill, the Mount Saint Joseph University basketball player who passed away from brain cancer in 2015.
The Lauren Hill Memorial Park will be located at the corner of Georgetown Road and Fairway Drive after the City of Greendale granted Friends of Lauren Hill a 15-year land lease.
The park is five years in the making.
“She’d be excited,” Brent Hill, Lauren’s dad, said. “She’d think this was really neat. Yeah, she’d be excited about this.”
Lauren raised more than $1 million for cancer research before passing from DIPG, an incredibly rare form of brain cancer, at 19.
She was diagnosed as a senior at Lawrenceburg High School a few months after signing to play at MSJU.
MSJU head women’s basketball coach Dan Benjamin got a special waiver from the NCAA to move up the team’s season opener so that Lauren could play before her condition worsened.
She was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
“Lauren Hill’s name in the community is something that’s a big name around here,” Adam Duwel with Friends of Lauren Hill said. “I didn’t know her, but just her passion for living life to the fullest and helping others.”
Brent remembers his daughter’s infectious positive attitude.
“Lauren could not walk through a room without her hugging you,” he said. “For me, that’s probably been one of the biggest things... That, and the smile. I just miss it so much.”
Brent says he’s grateful for the community’s support during the last few years.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s been hard on the kids.”
The memorial park’s parking lot will be completed first, followed by a dog park. Brent is hopeful it will be open in the fall by Lauren’s birthday. A mountain bike trail is planned as well.
Brent and others are excited finally to have somewhere to go to honor Lauren.
“She was a very special young lady we all miss,” Greendale Mayor Alan Weiss said. “To honor her with this park is very special.”
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