May 5, 2006
MAY 17, 2006: GROUNDBREAKING SET FOR NEW PARK NAMED FOR SLAIN CHARLOTTE POLICE OFFICER
Charlotte, NC— Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 12:30 p.m. for a new park named for a Charlotte police officer slain in the line of duty. The groundbreaking for the Robert L. Smith District Park at 1604 Little Rock Road will be held during National Police Week.
Officer Robert L. Smith was shot and killed January 15, 1987 while responding to a call of someone shooting into a condominium complex at Spyglass Place in the Pawtuckett Community in the old Adam-3 District. This was before City-County police consolidation. Officer Smith was a seven year veteran of the Charlotte Police Department and was 27 years old at the time of his death. A suspect was later arrested. About 800 people attended Smith’s memorial service and more than a thousand attended his funeral. To honor his memory, fellow officers and their families tied yellow ribbons to every utility pole between the church and cemetery. This was widely covered by the news media in 1987.
The groundbreaking for the Robert L. Smith District Park will include remarks by Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Parks Helms, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Police Chief Darrel Stephens, County Commissioner Norman Mitchell, and Park and Recreation Commissioner Brad Pierce. The widow of Officer Smith, now remarried, is expected to attend. Neighbors and police officers petitioned for the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners to name the park for Smith.
Robert L. Smith District Park is expected to open for play in the fall of 2007. This phase is expected to cost $3 million and include three soccer fields, a walking trail, a practice field/play meadow, playground, restrooms, parking, and concession stand.