Memorial at Hampton Park for Chesterfield teenager removed - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Memorial at Hampton Park for Chesterfield teenager removed

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

An impromptu memorial for a Chesterfield teenager has been removed, but that's not the end of an effort to remember him.

Before Monday, the pedestrian tunnel in Chesterfield's Hampton Park was decorated with paintings, images, and quotes honoring 17-year-old Cal Reilly. 

It's the same place where police say he committed suicide. Now, the paint is gone - but not the determination of Cal's friends. 

Friends close to Reilly knew the images wouldn't be able to stay up there forever, but they are simply asking the HOA to let them memorialize him in another, more permanent way.

Spray paint now covers words that once read "Cal you will be forever in our hearts". 

Not out of disrespect to the cause - but an effort to keep the grounds free of any vandalism, according to some neighbors. Friends of Reilly spray painted images and quotes - symbolic of his personality.  

"This tunnel will always mean something to us, even if the ground is painted over and the tunnel is painted over," said Reilly's friend Turner parks. "We will still be able to see through all of these thin-coated paintings." 

Soon after those paintings went up earlier this month, some of Reilly's friends got a visit from police.

"I walked over and said, 'hello officers, is there anything I can do?'" said Devon Vallejo. "He was like, 'we need you all to line up against the wall.'"

Vallejo says they told him this was vandalism that needed to be taken down. Hampton Park neighbors say the HOA board decided to pay a contractor to come out here and put a new coat of paint on these walls.

"I hope they have a change in heart, and I hope they realize that this affected a lot more people than they realize," said Reilly's friend Kayla Arnold.

"I mean, would you rather have us cutting ourselves, burning ourselves, starving, committing suicide, crying in our rooms alone - or here as a family?" Vallejo added.

Reilly's friends understand the art couldn't stay here forever, but they'd still like to see something honoring their friend who was loved so much.

The new coats of paint will cost about $2,500. No word yet if Reilly's friends will have to foot that bill. We tried contacting the neighborhood's home owners association for comment but haven't heard back.

E-mails between the HOA board and neighbors stated, if people want to honor Reilly, it would be best to donate money to the second nature wilderness program in Cal's name at the family's request. The program helps troubled teens.

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