Skate park ready to open in memory of Alix Rice
Seven years after the tragic death of Amherst teenager Alix Rice a special skate park will officially open to the public next month. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says a ribbon cutting for the Alix Rice Peace Park will be held Saturday, August 4th at the Northtown Center in Amherst.
"I'm going to cry talking about it. The bright light that my daughter deserved - that will live on and make her memory life on,” said Tammy Schueler.
It’s difficult for Tammy Schueler to hold back her tears as she talks about her daughter Alix. With the creation of the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation, the memorial was constructed.
Alix was struck by a car as she was coming home from work on her longboard along Heim Road on July 8, 2011. Schueler tears up as she talks about her daughter.
“She was my only child, so basically I’m a mother without a child and every Mother’s Day, every anniversary, as I watch her friends get married and have children – that’s a part of my life that’s was taken from me,” sobbed Schueler.
The driver of the car that struck Alix was Dr. James Corasanti. He served eight-months in jail after found guilty of a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge, but was acquitted on leaving the scene of an accident and evidence tampering. Corsanti had been drinking, speeding and texting.
The family reached a civil settlement three years ago. The new skate park will offer a safe haven for skateboarders and serve as a lasting memorial for the young woman.
“I kind of feel like – do you remember when Sally Field won her Oscar and she stood up and she said ‘they like me – they really like me’. I think that’s the acceptance that my daughter is getting from the community that she didn’t get in life. Its acceptance – for me it’s the college graduation that I’ll never get to go to, it’s the wedding that I never got to go to – it’s all the life events that were taken from me. This is a substitute,” Schueler explained.
“When I was there last Thursday, I dipped her wheels from her original longboard and her shoes into the wet concrete, so there’s a little tribute to her in the corner,” Schueler remarked.
The foundation received a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation and State of New York. But now to ensure the park is here for years to come, the foundation is also encouraging citizens and businesses to purchase bricks.
“We just had a meeting with Tony Hawk on Saturday and we were talking about the different ways to kind of keep things active and we’re talking about starting to team up with parks & recreation and do skateboard lessons and I just think it’s going to keep growing and every time you think we’ve completed something we found another way to grown,” Schueler declared.