Friends and family members of David Grubbs hope a newly approved light and memorial bench will help the community heal in the aftermath of the 23-year-old's murder last fall.
Grubbs was killed with a bladed weapon on Nov. 19, 2011, while walking home at dusk from his job at Shop'n Kart.
On Monday night, the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission approved a light, memorial bench and plaque bordering the Central Ashland Bike Path and a Hunter Park parking lot.
The site is close to where Grubbs was murdered. The case has not been solved.
"It would be an honor to try and put beauty where there was such darkness and a terrible event," the victim's older sister, Rachel Grubbs, told parks commissioners.
Rachel Grubbs said her family was embraced by the whole community after the tragedy. She said the murder does not change the fact that Ashland is a wonderful place.
Michael Grubbs, the father of the victim and a building official for the city of Ashland, said he doesn't believe the light will intrude onto people's homes because it will be near a parking lot and railroad tracks.
"It is meant to shine a little light on a very bad spot," Michael Grubbs said.
All five parks commissioners voted to approve the memorial bench plus a small plaque that will feature a symbol of the Red Hot Chili Peppers alternative rock band.
David Grubbs, a talented musician, was a fan of the band and some of his friends and family now bear tattoos of its asterisk symbol in his memory.
A flat metal replica of the symbol will be embedded in concrete at the foot of the bench.
Commissioners Rich Rosenthal, Stefani Seffinger and Jim Lewis voted to approve a light pole with a single light.
Commissioners Rick Landt and JoAnne Eggers voted against the light.
Landt said people will be attracted to the lighted area at night and may have a false sense of security there. He said he would have supported the light if the entire Central Ashland Bike Path were lit.
In March, the Ashland City Council rejected a $385,000 proposal to light the bike path after police Chief Terry Holderness said that would create areas of darkness and light — providing hiding places for attackers and a false sense of security for people.
The lights would have been placed 150 feet apart for two miles.
For the newly approved Grubbs memorial bench and light, the Parks Department will use a bench it has on hand and Michael Grubbs will buy the light, parks employees said.
Meanwhile, a community reward fund for information leading to the arrest of David Grubbs' murderer or murderers has grown to $21,230, Ashland police said Tuesday.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the non-emergency Ashland Police Department phone number at 541-482-5211 or the department's anonymous tip line at 541-552-2333.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.