LOCKPORT – A Fallen Heroes Memorial for the City of Lockport will be built around a fountain near the Outwater Park overlook, a city committee decided Monday.
But the exact design has yet to be determined for the effort to honor those from Lockport who gave their lives in the military, police or fire service.
“We’re going to take that old, rickety fountain out there and make something nice out of it,” Alderwoman Kathryn J. “Kitty” Fogle, R-3rd Ward, said after the first meeting of the 11-member memorial committee.
The committee was created in the wake of a controversy over a proposal to honor Buffalo Police Officer Patricia A. Parete, a Lockport native who died Feb. 2 at age 48. She had been a quadriplegic since being shot in the line of duty six years before.
Her high school classmates suggested renaming a city park in her memory, but the Common Council turned that down.
Because Lockport has not honored other recent heroes – including a soldier killed in Iraq and a Niagara County sheriff’s deputy who died in a car crash speeding to the aid of a Lockport policeman who had been shot – the Council and Mayor Michael W. Tucker decided that a more general memorial was in order.
The fountain at the overlook near the brink of the Niagara Escarpment doesn’t work, and its concrete base is eroding. The committee has no budget, but there seems to be public interest in donating to a memorial project.
Some businesses have offered goods and services, including Stedman Nursery of Newfane, which submitted a landscape architect’s drawing for a circular memorial around the fountain with numerous flagpoles.
There are other ideas. Deputy County Historian Craig E. Bacon, a committee member, dusted off nine proposed designs for a county veterans memorial, discussed a decade ago for Fort Niagara. It was never built.
Bacon said he has counted 82 memorials in the city, many of them old and not maintained.
“If you want this to be meaningful, you need it to be a prominent display,” committee member Anthony J. Sammarco said. “I don’t want to see a replay of things that have happened over the years.”
Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said there are some memorials in the city that take the form of inscribed bricks placed in the ground and that the inscriptions quickly erode.
Eggert backed the idea of a wall with memorial inscriptions.
The committee chose subcommittees for design, finances, communications and applications, the latter meaning criteria for who is honored.
Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick, R-5th Ward, co-chairman of the committee with Fogle, said he wants honorees to either have been born, raised or educated in Lockport. “I envision it not being a very difficult selection process,” he said.
The committee decided to meet again in Outwater Park at 4:30 p.m. July 16.