Ground breaking ceremony held for Deputy Ken Collier Neighborhood Park in honor of fallen sheriff deputy

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A park’s name is added to maps, to party invitations, and people’s vocabulary and that is just what will happen to fallen Sheriff Deputy Ken Collier’s name. Collier died in a tragic accident on duty February 28, 2010. The Santee community came together to honor him, a Santana High School graduate, by naming a new park after him.

A park’s name is added to maps, to party invitations, and people’s vocabulary and that is just what will happen to fallen Sheriff Deputy Ken Collier’s name. Collier died in a tragic accident on duty February 28, 2010. The Santee community came together to honor him, a Santana High School graduate, by naming a new park after him.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held July 1 and the park’s official name is Deputy Ken Collier Neighborhood Park. The one-half acre land is located at the intersections of Via De Cristina and Via Victoria that is just north of Prospect Avenue in Santee’s southwest side.

“I live with Ken’s loss every day,” said Karen Li, who was engaged to him at the time. But on a more soothing note she said, “I’m sure we will have a lot of friends and family come here.”

Santee Sheriff Captain Anthony C. Ray said Ken Collier was a “gentle giant who would talk to anybody” and further said that “his partners loved him and he was an honorable guy.”

In attendance at the groundbreaking were County Board of Supervisors’ Dianne Jacob, Sheriff Bill Gore, Santee Vice Mayor Jack E. Dale, Santee Director of Community Services Department Manager Bill Maertz, Collier’s brother Lauren Collier, sister Nancy Robinson, Councilmember Rob McNelis, with an estimated attendance of 75.

The project’s budget is $1.2 million including engineering and design. The city of Santee was able to obtain $32,813 in local and state grants. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Grant of $64,413 will cover the adult outdoor exercise equipment and half-court basketball court. The parcel was left over from the expansion of highway 52.

Santee Recreation Services Manager Sue Richardson explained the irrigation would be an underground web of irrigation lines that minimize evaporation, have a solar-powered overhead light, a playground structure, picnic shelter, and an interactive bikeway for children.

Santee resident, Lisa Neely, who serves on the Santee Parks and Recreation Committee (SPARC), was moved to tears when she first heard the proposed park would be named after Deputy Ken Collier.

Construction of the Deputy Ken Collier Neighborhood Park completion is slated for this October.

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