A park dedicated to peaceful reflection, hope and mourning for those affected by cancer is officially opened Saturday in Boonville.

The park is part of a two-year effort led by the Central Missouri Cancer Memorial Park Board. Chairman Charlie Melkersman said the board members greatly appreciated the 125-150 survivors, family and community members who attended the dedication ceremony, as well as the hundreds of people who have supported the project that kicked off with the construction of a pavilion about two years ago. Since then, many other attributes have been added, including water features. People began accessing the grounds after the sidewalks were poured and shrubs planted early this year.

“Our actual dedication ceremony was a spiritual message,” Melkersman said. “Everyone was very excited about the park being there. … We hope people can come get a sense of peace that they would not get any other place.”

Melkersman said the community at large has been very supportive of the project, and the board members are extremely grateful for supporters who helped keep them energized throughout the endeavor. Approximately 65 people participated in the 5K prior to the dedication of Central Missouri Cancer Park. Numerous members of the Boonville High School football team and coaches were among the participants. The $390 raised from the 5K along, with additional donations made at the dedication, will be used for park maintenance and upkeep.

Melkersman said the park is designed with two conjoining ribbons. The eastern ribbon is dedicated to celebrating the ongoing lives of those who have been diagnosed with cancer, and the other is for commemorating those who have already died due to the disease.

“The conjoining ribbons are a symbol of infinity, in that nature,” Melkersman said.