County leaders hope to rename a local dog park for a Central High School student who was murdered in 2016.
Mayor Tim Burchett and Commissioner Michele Carringer will ask the Knox County Commission to rename the PetSafe Dog Park in Tommy Schumpert Park to the PetSafe Emma Walker Memorial Dog Park.
Walker, a popular student and cheerleader, would have graduated this week with her high school class.
“Emma was taken too soon and her death has left a significant mark in the community, and the outpouring of support for her family has been moving,” said Mayor Burchett. “Emma was a dog lover and renaming this park is a great way to honor her life and legacy. I also want to thank Randy Boyd and PetSafe for allowing us to do this.”
Carringer added: “I had the Honor and privilege to meet Emma Jane Walker and her family. Emma was a beautiful person and had a heart for everyone as well as all animals that she came in contact with. When meeting Emma for the first time, I immediately recognized her sweet spirit, her energetic personality and her love for life and others. She had a dream of being a pediatric nurse. To honor that dream, her family and friends worked hard to purchase a room at Children’s Hospital in her name.”
Last week, a jury convicted Walker's ex-boyfriend, Riley Gaul, on first-degree murder charges in her death. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If the name change is approved, officials will hold an unveiling and dedication at a later date.