Irmo park reopens after check of tree safety

tflach@thestate.comJune 5, 2014 

— Irmo Community Park is reopening after a check of trees found few dangers.

The inspection was spurred by the death of 3-year-old Jacoby Latta, who was struck by a limb that fell off an oak tree while he was on the playground at a church picnic Saturday.

One of a dozen trees checked around the playground and walking path was removed Wednesday, after already being identified as dying, officials said, while others had a few limbs trimmed.

“It was a little cleaning up,” town public services director Whit Cline said Wednesday.

The accident led officials in nearby West Columbia to look over trees in parks there and remove suspicious limbs, according to city public works director Charles Garren.

Irmo leaders, with the endorsement of Jacoby’s family, hope to turn the tragedy into a memorial benefiting other children.

A garden being developed in the 14-acre park for youngsters to learn about landscape will be named for Jacoby, Mayor Hardy King said.

Jacoby’s family is encouraging donations to add features to the garden that will blossom near the playground.

The garden should be planted by the end of June, but a ceremony commemorating him will wait until his family is ready, officials said.

“They’re grieving but at the same time they’re accepting of being blessed with Jacoby being in their lives for three years,” said King, who talked with the boy’s parents.

The funeral for Jacoby will be at noon Friday at Columbia Church of Christ, 1049 Harbor Drive, West Columbia, with burial in Bush River Memorial Gardens near Irmo. Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. Thursday at Leevy’s Funeral Home, Taylor Street Chapel.

On social media, the family is encouraging those coming to either service to wear Avenger clothing in honor of Jacoby’s love of the superhero characters.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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