Across from Vero Beach High School, a young athlete once roamed on the 16th Street ball fields.He would transition to the gridiron and as a freshman he made the Vero varsity football team. But in December, 15-year-old Jimmy Graves died in a boating accident in the Indian River Lagoon.
Tuesday, Jimmy’s father, Joseph Graves, spoke before the Indian River County Commission.
“This opportunity means more than you’ll ever know," said Graves.
Joseph Graves, and his supporters, have a plan for the 16th Street ball fields. No one, the county, the city, nor the school district wanted to spend the money to keep up the fields.
“I coached him in football. He’s played 7 vs. 7 on those fields. They are central to the youth of our county," said Joseph Graves.
One thing Joseph Graves said he admired most about his son Jimmy was how he could befriend anybody, you didn’t have to be the coolest kid in school, or a star athlete.
“Countless cards and letters and emails about him going out of his way to stand up for someone," said Joseph Graves.
In that spirit, The Jimmy Graves Foundation was started to create a place for all kids in the community. For $250 thousand, the county commission voted unanimously Tuesday to let the foundation buy the land.
“We’ve already had events where youth have come in a nice safe positive environment where they can interact with their peers," said Joseph Graves.
Graves making a vow that the property will be kept the way his son used it, giving future generations a safe place to grow up. The foundation plans to add a building on the property down the road as a meeting place.