Alix Rice Peace Park Holds Groundbreaking

Skate park to remember 18-year-old killed by drunk driver

Mike Baggerman
July 07, 2017 - 3:46 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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AMHERST, N.Y. (WBEN) – Though construction technically began about six weeks ago, the Alix Rice Peace Park held its groundbreaking ceremony on Friday morning in front of the Northtown Center in Amherst.

Rice, 18, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on July 8, 2011 while she was longboarding home from work. Her death sparked a lot of controversy as the ensuing lawsuit yielded a record settlement in 2015, considered the largest in New York for such a specific case.

Friday’s ceremony wasn’t about any lawsuit, though. It was about immortalizing Alix through the creation of a skate park.

WATCH: Brian Duff and Rice's mother, Tammy Schuler, speak at groundbreaking ceremony

“There’s so many mixed emotions for me to stand here today because five years of hard work is finally coming to be,” Rice’s mother Tammy Schuler said as she wiped back tears. “That feels so good. Tomorrow being the sixth anniversary of Alix’s death feels so bad. By tying those two things together – I think what I really want to say – This is our opportunity from this day forward to celebrate Alix’s life. Who she was as a human being. And that her memory lives on with her values and her love for the community.”

The Alix Rice Peace Park is meant to be a “safe haven for skaters”. Buffalo Sabres television host Brian Duff is also a member of the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation and hosted the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We have been very blessed right from the start with people who are willing to help us,” he said.

The park is estimated to cost approximately $450,000 and the organization hopes to fundraise approximately $500,000 to ensure it is maintained and insured for years to come. Duff said the organization has received about $420,000.

“Our fundraising will never stop,” Duff said. “We just hope to have different kinds of fundraising events once this park is opened.”

While the majority of the funding came from individual donations from bricks, t-shirts, and other avenues, other organizations contributed to the building of the park including the Tony Hawk Foundation, who contributed $7,500 to the cause. New York State issued a grant of $128,000 according Jon Fulcer who is the President of the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation.

The park itself will be built upwards and it will have six-foot high retaining walls. It will feature two skating bowls along with other features for skaters.

You can help build the park by purchasing a brick at www.AlixRice.com.

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