Parkland father pours energy into creating memorial park for his slain daughter

'I just had a vision of a big playground for my princess,' Andrew Pollacks says

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Andy Pollack isn't planning on spending a lot of time at the cemetery.

Since his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was murdered inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, Pollack has been on a mission to improve school safety.

"I speak with the other parents. Every day is a challenge. You wake up. You don't know what time of the day you’re going to start crying," Pollack said.

He and other parents successful lobbied Florida lawmakers to pass a number of reforms after the Parkland shooting, including more funding for school safety and some restrictions gun purchases.

Now his next project is Meadow Park. It’s currently just empty plot of land, but soon it will be a peaceful tribute to his daughter and the other victims.

"I just had a vision of a big playground for my princess. I can’t have something mediocre it has to be spectacular for her just like most fathers would want for their kids," Pollack said.

Pollack plans to plant 17 trees inside the park – one for each of the people killed in the shooting. Pollack also wants to add water features, walkways and gardens. 

"I want to go to places and feel joy. This will bring some joy to my life, coming to the playground and seeing other families enjoy it," Pollack said. "And that's what my daughter would want. … She'd want me to have some happiness and give back to the community."

The Chabad of Coral Springs, a temple on University Drive, is providing the 15,000 square feet of land for the park. The temple and the Pollack family have also raised money for the park online, so far people have contributed more than $100,000 to the cause. 

Pollack said he doesn't want the community to settle for "something small," and the ultimate goal is raise $1 million for the park.

"It is a very appropriate way to honor all the victims, especially Meadow," Rabbi Avraham Friedman of Chabad of Coral Springs. "I think that may bring healing to the community that could use the healing."

And the park is also getting a lot of support from the St. Thomas Aquinas High School lacrosse team, where Andrew Pollack has been an assistant coach for 10 years.

The team has decided to dedicate their season to Meadow and create T-shirts in her honor. The money from the T-shirts sales funds Meadow Park.

"Every year under their shoulder pads the kids wear a shirt," head coach Terry Crowley said. "Our three captains who are all from Parkland came up with the concept to pay for Meadow. They all went to elementary school with her and known her for a long time." 

Now teams from all over the country want in, too.

Schools including University of Maryland, Hofstra University, Massapequa High School and Pollack’s alma mater, Oceanside High School in Long Island, N.Y., have all ordered hundreds of shirts.

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