OKLAND TRIBUTE: Playground To Be Built

Police say West Des Moines realtor, Ashely Okland was murdered in 2011 while working at a model townhome.

She was just twenty seven years old.

Police are still following up on leads.

In the meantime, Ashley has remained on the minds of friends and family who have begun the process in creating the perfect tribute.

Friends and family members are anxiously waiting for investigators to crack the case, and bring whoever is responsible for the murder of Ashley to justice.

“It’s been slow. There hasn’t been a lot of new news,” says Ashley’s brother, Josh Okland.

“It feels like it was just yesterday even though it was a couple of years ago,” said Susan Hatten, a project chair for Variety Iowa.

That doesn’t mean they’re sitting on their hands.

In fact, they’re looking forward to using them when it comes time to break ground on a tribute to Ashley.

“We thought what a better memorial and tribute than to build a playground that would be a gift to the city and one that would last a life time,” said Hatten.

Variety Iowa, a central Iowa children’s charity announced it has begun fundraising efforts to build the Ashley Okland Star Playground.

Once $500,000 dollars is raised, it will be built at Ewing Park on Des Moines’ southeast side.

It will be Des Moines’ first all-inclusive park, meaning the equipment will be accessible to all children regardless of disabilities.

“This playground will have equipment that children in wheelchairs would be able to utilize,” Hatten told Channel 13 News.

Ashley was active in several organizations where she got to work with children.

If she were still alive today, her brother josh says this is a project she’d be thrilled to have her name on.

“She included everyone in everything she did. That is what this park does. It includes children from every walk of life,” said Okland.

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