By JoAnn Fields
Contributing Writer

San Diego, CA: 12 years of community advocacy finally paid off and was celebrated at the Charles Lewis III Memorial Park Ground Breaking on Friday, May 16, 2014 off Home Ave. east of the I-805 in the Redwood Village community. City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner, Council Members Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald joined members of Charles’ family Ms. Rosemary Pope, mom; Charos Maull, sister and widow Carlette Lewis in the historical ground breaking.

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“Today I do not want closure. I pray for healing. This coming August marks the 10th Anniversary of my son’s demise. Charles left a legacy of service to his community to improve the quality of life for all people to enjoy. I am blessed to see his vision of transforming blighted areas of San Diego to be transformed to an oasis of trees and nature for children, youth and families to enjoy. Today’s ground breaking sends a positive message throughout San Diego. What was once witnessed as a “Drug Haven” will become a “Safe Haven” where families can create life-long memories to enjoy. This park will be a destination where residents can come have social outings, play a game of basketball and take their kids to the playground. No longer will this area be an eyesore when you drive-by. This will be a beautiful park that reflects the beauty of my son’s spirit and being. I am thankful for all that made this day possible Mayor Faulkner, former Council President Tony Young, Ron Lacey, Attorney John Stump, Jim Varnadore and the City Heights Planning Committee, Councilmember Marti Emerald who now represents this area that was once before in the 4th Council District, City of San Diego Parks and Recreation and most importantly the residents of the 4th and 9th district. I look forward to the day the park is completed and we can host Camp Charles at this park. Another activity that celebrates Charles and his mission to help the underserved young people in San Diego,” states Ms. Rosemary Pope.

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“Charles served his community on the premise that excellence is created through public service and recognized early on his calling to serve his community. Charles defined excellence by being a strong advocate for his neighborhood and implemented a graffiti control program, and numerous tree planting beautification projects to help enhance the community. Charles continued the 4th District Youth Advisory Council to discuss the concerns of youth and young adults that include education, youth employment and gang violence. Further, Charles defined excellence by establishing 23 neighborhood councils to give residents of the Fourth Council District 4 a stronger voice to address issues impacting their communities. Charles was determined to create a legacy rooted in excellence, and I am so honored and grateful to witness Charles’ legacy of excellence live on through the Charles Lewis III Memorial Park,” shares Carlette Lewis.

For updates regarding the Charles Lewis III Memorial Park and Camp Charles, contact Charos Maul, President of the Charles Lewis III Foundation via email at charos@cox.net. Applications are now being accepted for the next Annual Camp Charles. The Charles Lewis III Memorial Park is expected to be completed in 2015.

Photography By JoAnn Fields: