Family, Friends of Jarvis Long Celebrate Lights in Peter Pan Park

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- It was a dark and tragic scene at Peter Pan Park three months ago when Jarvis Long was murdered. But Saturday it was the opposite, as friends and family celebrated their successful efforts to brighten the park by getting the City of Lincoln to install new lights.

"If something positive can come out of something this negative and we can stop this from happening to someone else it's the best thing in the world," said Jarvis' sister, Starla Waters-Rankins. "If this happened to somebody that he loved and he cared about he would be in the front, he would be a front runner and would be doing things like this as well."

Shortly after Long died, Joshua Fernandez began a mission to get lights installed in the park.

"Initially the petition got started and before the day ended we actually got over 1,000 signatures. So that was really successful," said Fernandez.

But Fernandez didn't even have to turn them in. He says the city acted almost immediately, and around a month ago three lights were installed, and all other existing poles got new LED bulbs.

But some who live in the neighborhood say it's still too dark.

"And it's really dark still," said Connie Perez. "Once you get by the bathrooms and beyond, that it gets very dark. For me to step out my yard and look down there, I'm not seeing a whole lot."

Perez says while she feels safe and is happy with the new lights, the city could do more. But until that day, she will rely on her neighborhood to look out for trouble.

"We started the neighborhood watch," said Perez.. "An organization with the neighbors here."

Which is another preventive measure being done in response to Long's death.

"Nobody should ever have to feel how we feel, nobody should have to go through what we go through," said Water-Rankins. "And if putting lights up in this park stops the crime and stops other things from happening, that is a blessing."

A fund has been set up in Long's name at Wells Fargo in Lincoln. The family is trying to raise money for a memorial at Peter Pan Park.
They also have remaining funeral funds.