In front of the Longwood Police Department and overlooking Reiter Park, we find Heroes Park. It was constructed in 2005. This round resting spot at the northeast corner of Church and Milwee remembers our fallen heroes: first responders and military. It was dedicated after the tragedy at the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001.
A piece of the World Trade Center was given to the City of Longwood and then added to this memorial. You will notice a blank space between the three granite pillars on either side of the thin pillar. Look at it again and focus on that empty space, rather than the granite. This space symbolizes the two twin towers, now fallen. The base of the fountain has five sides, symbolizing the Pentagon.
Remembered are those who have given their lives in service to the country in the areas of: Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army. The inscription says: “Dedicated to those who served this nation and whose sacrifice sustains America’s enduring spirit of freedom.”
The land where Heroes Park and the police station now sit once belonged to the next-door Christ Episcopal Church. The church gifted the parcel to the city in 1938 under the condition that it could only be used for a park. It served as a hub for city recreation and was called Peppermint Park for decades. In 1986 the city tore down the baseball fields and other local recreation to convert the space into a much-needed new police station. It was only after ground was broken on the new law enforcement headquarters that the old deed’s contingency was discovered.
According to the deed, if the property were to be used for anything else other than a park then ownership would revert to the Episcopal church. After a lengthy controversy and legal wrangling, the city agreed to pay the the diocese $125,000 to clear the title so they could proceed with the police station plans.