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Forrest Rose Park to honor late musician

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | 9:21 p.m. CDT; updated 1:02 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — It's a music lover's dream.

Forrest Rose Park will soon open downtown next to Mojo’s and will become the site of outdoor music concerts and social events.

Richard King, owner of Mojo’s and The Blue Note and an old friend of Rose’s, set aside the plot as a memorial, salute and tribute to the musician and community figure who died in March 20, 2005, at age 48.

“I discussed it among friends, and we felt it was the right thing to do,” King said. “The contributions Forrest made are enormous; this is a small fraction of my feelings for him and the sense of loss I’ve felt.”

Rose was well-known locally as a bassist in several bands, including The Mudbugs, The Rank Sinatras, The Mid-Missouri Hell-Band and Perfect Strangers. Because he was a frequent performer at Mojo’s, the site will have special meaning for patrons who saw him there.

“When I heard about the park, I was dumbstruck by the appropriateness of it,” said Kevin Walsh, another of Rose’s longtime friends. “Just an obscure piece of land, a private place downtown is a perfect tribute. Not only is it a great way to remember him, it’s a great place to go to remember him.”

Walsh recalls the times he spent with Rose, who lived in that neighborhood. “He was an inveterate walker, and many times he and I sat around in that area,” Walsh said. “He loved to smoke cigarettes, chat, that sort of thing.”

Mojo’s Fourth of July Picnic is billed to take place in the park and will feature The Carolina Chocolate Drops, a spirited African-American string band. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m.

At this point King plans to keep the space an open venue, setting up a stage and lights for events when needed. King said he has always owned the land just east of Mojo’s, which was vacant, and estimates the park is roughly three-quarters of an acre.

King plans to take down Mojo’s fence for the event to better access the facilities at Mojo’s.

“In my opinion it’s the perfect salute to Forrest. Hopefully we can follow through and make it as cool as Forrest was,” King said.

As the band starts up Friday afternoon, many will feel Forrest among them while they’re enjoying the culture of live music, just as Forrest did right up until his last moments.

“He’s going to be around, he’ll be at this event, in spirit,” said Walsh. “I’ll see him there.”


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