Plans for memorial garden at Bever family home pushed back after fire

BROKEN ARROW -- Plans for a memorial garden at the Bever home in Broken Arrow are being pushed back after a fire destroyed the home Saturday morning.

City officials plan on moving forward with the plan to turn the home where five people were murdered into a peaceful place for the town. 

City councilor Mike Lester said the city is speaking with the lender Monday to find out if the home has insurance.

Lester said the city has set up a 501-C-3 account through the Tulsa Community Foundation to raise $50,000 for the home. Saturday's fire will impact the April 7 deadline for donations.

RELATED: Officials investigate fire at vacant Bever family home

Lester said he believes the date to acquire the property will be pushed back until all investigations into the fire are made. He said the goal for the property is to remove the home, turn it into a park and merge with the Indian Springs mini-park that borders the property.

Neighbors said they were hoping something positive would come out of the property, but said Saturday's fire brought back the horrific memories of the murders that occurred there nearly two years ago.

"Things were settling down and it feels like it’s kinda just starting up again,” said neighbor Julie Wallis. “It brought back a lot of difficult memories. It’s just one more bad thing to happen to the neighborhood.”

Police arrested brothers Michael and Robert Bever in July 2015 after officers found the bodies of the boys' parents and three siblings inside the home. Two other siblings survived.

RELATED: Gruesome details emerge in Broken Arrow quintuple homicide investigation

Lester said the city isn't going to let Saturday's fire get in the way of creating the garden. 

“We’re only a little over 20 percent of what we needed," Lester said. "Because of what’s occurred now, that may get us closer to where we need to be to acquire the lot. I don’t know we’ll just have to wait and talk to the lender.”

Lester said the city continues to accept donations for the project, and hopes to know more information about the fate for the memorial garden on Monday.

Neighbors said the garden would help give the neighborhood peace.

“I was questioning that yesterday, you know, now what? So to know that the plans are still in the works, just pushed back a little bit, that’s reassuring,” Wallis said.

Fire investigators are still determining how the home caught fire.

SECTION: The Bever family murders

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