Arlington playground named after boy who drowned in a septic tank

Saturday would have been Amari Harley’s 7th birthday

A new Arlington playground will be named after Amari Harley, who drowned in a septic tank. Tomorrow would be his 7th birthday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new playground in Arlington will be named after Amari Harley, the little boy who drowned after falling into a sewage tank four years ago.

Amari was three years old when his body was found inside an unsecured septic tank while at Bruce Park with his family for a celebration. Authorities called it an accidental drowning.

More than a year after Amari’s death, his mother sued the city and two contractors who were in charge of maintaining the tanks. One contractor settled with the family and the other was dropped from the lawsuit. The city reached a settlement the Harley family in 2019.

After Amrari’s tragic death, Mayor Lenny Curry vowed to secure septic tanks’ lids on all city property. Five months later, the city spent $837,525 to replace the lids and make them safe. Today, 193 city septic tanks are secured by heavy metal lids with locking devices.

News4Jax I-TEAM later found the same tank where Amari died had been the subject of two previous complaints filed with the city. An inspector also found it was unsecured a month before the boy died.

The dedication ceremony of Amari Harley Playground was scheduled for Friday but was rescheduled to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Bruce Park, 6549 Arlington Road. In addition to family, the city’s director of parks and at least two members of Jacksonville City Council will attend.

Saturday would have been his seventh birthday.