LOCKPORT – A friend of the late Patricia Parete accused City Hall last week of dragging its feet on building a memorial to the Buffalo police officer in her hometown of Lockport.
“Honestly, I am not surprised that nothing has been done, but I will do my very best to make sure the memorial is completed before summer’s end as you all promised," said Joseph DiPasquale, the president of Parete’s Lockport High School graduating class. “Summer is fading quickly, and Election Day fast approaches.”
Common Council President Anne E. McCaffrey responded by telling DiPasquale not to contact her anymore.
A committee has yet to decide on a design for the memorial, which is to be built at the site of what is now a nonfunctioning fountain in Outwater Park. Nor has any funding been arranged, although aldermen and Mayor Michael W. Tucker have said several companies have expressed interest in donating materials or services.
John Freischlag, a landscape designer for Stedman Nursery, told the Council July 24 that the need for concrete work around the old fountain is a major reason the Fallen Heroes Memorial can’t be completed this year.
The city chose that name after turning down DiPasquale’s suggestion to rename Rogers Avenue Park for Parete, who died Feb. 2 from the effects of a gunshot wound in the line of duty that left her a quadriplegic.
The memorial won’t be simply for Parete but for other law enforcement, fire and military personnel with Lockport ties. The exact criteria haven’t been determined yet.
DiPasquale has written to McCaffery, demanding that the city move forward with the memorial.
“I meant what I said at the council meeting in May. This can either be easy, or the media will show up again, but this time I won’t be so pleasant,” DiPasquale wrote to McCaffrey.
“As you saw at the council meeting that day, this project has the public’s unwavering and full support … I will hold all of you accountable to that promise that you, your council and the mayor made to the families and friends of those heroes that you said would be honored."
Tucker said the city is moving. “We’re not going to rush to get it done by fall if it’s not going to be as nice as we want it,” Tucker said.
McCaffrey’s response was: “As you are aware, the Memorial Committee is in place and is working on the Fallen Heroes Memorial. I ask you to stop contacting me on this project.”
McCaffrey credited DiPasquale with “a great idea” for suggesting the memorial to Parete.
“The Common Council and the Memorial Committee, which is made up of community members as well as representatives from police, fire, military and historians, are excited to implement a memorial befitting Lockport’s fallen heroes,” she said. “At this time, plans, implementation and time are up to the committee, the Common Council and family members of fallen heroes.”
Election Day will have little impact, as five of the six aldermen are unopposed for re-election and Tucker’s term isn’t up this year.