WAUKESHA, Wis. — A proposal to develop a memorial baseball field for the boy killed in the Waukesha Christmas parade is moving forward.
Six people were killed in the November parade after a car drove through the route. Eight-year-old Jackson Sparks, the youngest victim, died after he was hit while walking in the parade with his baseball team.
Now some community members want to honor Jackson and his love for baseball in a special way—on the field where he used to play.
Matt Drvaric was born and raised in Waukesha and also loves baseball. The idea came to him following the parade tragedy. He presented the idea alongside his partner, Sean Cullen, to the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board on Monday night.
"Talking with the Sparks family, we said, if you could have any field in the Waukesha community, which field did you have the greatest memories at?" Drvaric said. "They responded with W.R. Oliver Park."
Drvaric and Cullen want to enhance field four at the park by adding astroturf, concrete dugouts, lights and live-streaming capabilities. They want to name it Sparks Complex at William R. Oliver Park. They also want an archway and a memorial next to the field.
"Really bring something to the community that is one-of-a-kind and unique in his memorial," Drvaric said.
"My dad endorses this, and that's what you're looking for," said William Oliver III.
The goal is to complete it by spring 2023. They say that is also in honor of Jackson, whose jersey is number 23.
Drvaric and Cullen met with the Sparks family for the first time to discuss the plan.
"Once we had a meeting with them, their whole philosophy throughout this whole tragedy has been, 'how do we talk about the positive things?'" Cullen said. "As we were coming up with this, hearing them say that, really lined up to be, this is a passion that came from us but it's also we got the full support of the Sparks family. And really support is what they kind of come out of this tragedy."
Following a unanimous vote, the proposal now goes before the plan commission later this month. They estimate it will cost about $1.3 million, and they are partnering with the Waukesha County Community Foundation to help raise money.
To learn more, you can head to the project's website.