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National AIDS Memorial Grove Restoration Begins In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The century-old Dry Creek and waterfall at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is getting a face lift.

The De Laveaga Dell, which used to be a vibrant part of the park with three waterfalls, has been fairly dry as the state has gone through cyclical droughts, forcing unsustainable water features in the park to be eliminated.

KCBS' Tim Ryan Reports:

The Grove holds a special meaning to thousands of people, including Harry Shepherd of Sonoma, whose daughter died of AIDS and is among the 1825 names in the Circle of Friends.

"When she passed away, it was very sudden and unexpected, but it happened," he said.

Ellen Shepherd and four generations of her family got their fingers dirty, helping to restore the site which means so much to her.

"We all fell in love with the atmosphere and the people," she said. "And we all have gardening in our blood too, so it went together."

The Shepherd's planted a small redwood sapling to honor their daughter Kathleen and now, it stands 40 feet tall.

"She had been sick for only about two years. She had been HIV positive for about six years," said her mother.

National AIDS Memorial Grove Director John Cunningham said the hope is that the waters will flow again on World AIDS Day on December 1.

"20 years ago, this space of Golden Gate Park was a neglected site, a derelict site," said Cunningham. "It was a dump."

The National AIDS Memorial Grove is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and remains the first and only federally designed memorial to AIDS in the country.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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