A runner passes the makeshift memorial at the corner of Frye and Main streets in Lewiston on Wednesday. The memorial was made soon after Jayden Cho-Sargent was struck and killed on his way to Lewiston Middle School on Nov. 3, 2016. 

LEWISTON — Nearly five months after a makeshift memorial was created for Jayden Cho-Sargent at a Main Street utility pole, it’s still intact — but that could change soon. 

Cho-Sargent, a 13-year-old Lewiston Middle School student, was struck and killed on his way to school on Nov. 3, 2016, and the telephone pole at the crosswalk next to Frye Street has since served as a memorial. 

The numerous stuffed animals, toys, notes and other items lasted through the long winter because of daily attention from the family, who shoveled around the pole and picked up fallen items. 

Now, city officials and the family are discussing its fate following concern for its appearance from the road and a state law that makes it a civil violation to attach items to a utility pole. 

According to David Jones, director of Lewiston Public Works, the city has no plan to take down the items — at least until a memorial replacement is completed or work begins on the pedestrian improvements slated for the crosswalk this spring.

With help from the Lewiston community Facebook page “Lewiston Rocks,” discussions for a meaningful memorial garden project to honor Cho-Sargent have begun.

Cho-Sargent’s mother, Kellie Foley, posted a disheartened message on the page yesterday, saying she had been asked to take down the items. She said she received a call from the police about the memorial.

“I’m sorry but I’m NOT TAKING IT DOWN! That is the only place I get to go and give him presents now,” she wrote. 

The family, she added, is still using the spot to grieve. She said her son has not yet had a proper burial because of the high costs. A crowdfunding campaign was used last year to pay for the funeral. 

What followed on the social media page was a swift outpouring of offers to help the family, including a statement from Jones reassuring Foley that the memorial won’t be simply stripped away. 

On Wednesday, Jones told the Sun Journal that Public Works never asked the family to remove the items. A complaint had come into City Hall, he said, and officials from Code Enforcement and the Police Department looked into it. 

He said his department had been planning an Earth Day event with Lewiston Rocks for a cleanup effort along the Androscoggin Greenway trail and Sunnyside Park on April 22. Following a suggestion from Foley, a small memorial garden may also be in the works at the park.

According to Jones, Foley and her family use the park frequently, and the new memorial could serve as a replacement for the items left on the utility pole. 

Foley said on the Facebook page that “Jayden and his brothers loved to play at the park. And I plan on visiting the park often this year.” 

Foley later said she was out of town all day Wednesday attending hearings in Augusta on pedestrian safety legislation.

Heidi Sawyer, the founder of Lewiston Rocks, helped organize the vigil and other efforts last year following the accident, and continued the help in coordinating between Foley and city officials Tuesday. 

Jones said the project to improve the crosswalk at Main and Frye streets, which is scheduled to happen this spring or summer, could incorporate some kind of memorial plaque to honor Cho-Sargent.

“We’ll keep the pole (memorial) up until another memorial is in place,” he said Wednesday.

Police Chief Brian O’Malley said Wednesday that the detective who had been assigned to the investigation surrounding the accident last year contacted the family to notify them of the process. He said that because the city had received the complaint and looked at the law surrounding utility poles, the department wanted to be considerate in a difficult situation. 

“At some point, it’s going to have to come down,” he said of the memorial, but added that he was glad to hear of the replacement memorial project. 

On the Lewiston Rocks page Tuesday, people offered to help Foley with burial arrangements. The entire process to coordinate the new memorial idea took only a few hours. 

She thanked “everyone for their love and support.” 

Since the accident late last year, the city has embarked on several projects to improve pedestrian safety. Cho-Sargent’s death was the third pedestrian fatality in Lewiston over a one-year span. Earlier this month, officials presented a report on pedestrian safety resulting from a community forum held in November.

The report identifies a number of problem intersections and lays out options for addressing them. The intersection of Main and Frye streets will be one of the first to be addressed. 

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