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Posted June 1, 2001 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Demolition plans for homes on hold

By Kevin Killen -- Daily Staff Writer

Plans to demolish two houses near the scene where Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook was shot to death are temporarily on hold, according to Winchester City Manager Edwin C. Daley.

Daley said the project, originally thought to start “as soon as possible” after the conviction and sentencing of Edward N. Bell, will not proceed until construction of the nearby Timbrook Public Safety Building is completed.

Without any unforeseen delays, the groundbreaking on the park should start next spring, Daley said.

The houses, located at 301 E. Piccadilly St. and 129 East Lane, were purchased by the city on December 1999 for $205,000, court records say.

Daley sent a letter to Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul H. Thomson and defense attorney Jud A. Fischel on April 19, saying the city intended on demolishing the structures in May unless it was blocked by either attorney.

Thomson wrote back to Daley, citing four reasons to stop the demolition of the buildings, primarily because the crime scene could still be of use and the decision to tear down the buildings was not his to make.

The city is planning to build a park on the property to honor Timbrook, who was shot and killed by Bell on Oct. 30, 1999, following a chase down East Piccadilly Street. Bell was sentenced to death for the slaying

Timbrook was killed in the alley that runs between the two houses.

The park will be located across East Lane from the public safety building.

What the park will consist of is still being hashed out, Daley said. A citizens group, named the Timbrook Park Citizens Committee, has met only once, and nothing has been determined, he said.

“What the city is planning is to take the committee’s recommendations for the park, and a make a design plan from it,” Daley said.

At the committee’s initial meeting in January, member Liz Schweiger said the park should be “a serene green space in the midst of the city where people can go to meditate.”

Another woman who attended the meeting, and identified herself only as an 11-year resident of East Piccadilly Street, said the park should contain recreational facilities aimed at families with young children.

Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Coyne said the committee has not met since that initial meeting in January and has submitted a park recommendation summary to Daley.

Under the summary, the committee has two objectives — general goals and features of the park.

Goals of the park include:

• Making it accessible by foot, without a dedicated parking lot on site

• It will be an ongoing tribute to Timbrook’s actions and community outreach, giving the Winchester Police Department an opportunity to interact with the community and area youths.

• It will be a place for recreation, relaxation and civic pride.

Some of the features of the park will include:

• Play equipment, which is compatible with the new Tot Lots in other city parks

• Benches nearby for parents to be able to monitor children

• Should be fun and capture children’s imaginations

“It should be a very nice place for kids to play, and a nice tribute to the memory of Ricky Timbrook,” Coyne said.

Committee members are Jonette Carter, Linda Estep, Sgt. Robert Gaither, Tom Hoy, Ben Shultz and Chuck Swartz.

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