A simple design -- a stone wall, a tree, a plaque, a bench -- has been chosen for a memorial on the site where Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center.
Site work would begin on Long Street this spring, with the goal of completing the memorial by Labor Day, said Michael B. Powers, who heads the nonprofit group Remember Flight 3407 Inc.
"We consider that to be solemn, sacred ground, and we want the memorial to reflect that," Powers said.
The design was chosen by the nonprofit's seven-member board, after a committee spent more than a year collecting ideas, gathering input and sifting through dozens of concepts, said Powers, an attorney and Clarence town justice.
The memorial will include a low, stone wall angled along the north side of the half-acre property at 6038 Long St., where the plane crashed into Karen Wielinski's home, killing all 49 people on board, as well as Wielinski's husband, Doug.
A tree, picked out by Karen Wielinski, will be planted where her home once stood. A walkway, consisting of different grades of stone, will run along the wall.
"There's a lot of symbolism," Powers said. "The wall is the length of the plane. As you're walking toward where the house stood, your steps will be audible, but as you approach, the stone changes to a smooth texture so it will be quiet."
A bench and plaque with the names of the crash victims will be situated toward the back of the property. There may be some flowers, but no parking lot. Twelve trees will be planted along the south edge of the lot.
"The idea was to have enough trees for all the lives that were lost, but the property is not big enough for that," Powers said. "That might be an idea we fold into the civic memorial."
A companion memorial is being designed for somewhere on the Clarence Town Hall complex, off Goodrich Road. Organizers believe that should help alleviate some of the controversy over placing a memorial on Long Street.
Some residents on Long Street have said they don't want a memorial at the crash site, where visitors would increase the amount of traffic on the quiet, residential street.
"Is everyone going to be happy with it? No," Clarence Supervisor Scott Bylewski said Thursday. "There are some people who do not want to see a memorial on Long Street."
"However," said Bylewski, who also sits on the nonprofit's board, "it is well within Karen's rights to do what she is proposing. From what I have seen, the memorial on the Wielinski property is very much in keeping with the neighborhood, and there has been a lot of public buy-in with this process."
Long Street residents have been involved, and understanding, throughout the entire discussion, Powers added.
"The main concern is that it not be something that draws a lot of crowds or a place where kids would hang out," Powers said. "We think by keeping this very simple and meditative -- without a parking lot -- it will be a place for the families of the victims to come, primarily. The civic memorial will be a place where the general public will be able to pay their respects."
Joseph D'Angelo, a former graduate student in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, helped pull all the concepts of the memorial together and come up with a design.
Kenneth Pearl, president of Architecture Unlimited in Clarence, will serve as project manager and is in the process of doing a rendering and the engineering work.
Remember Flight 3407 Inc. has collected about $100,000 in donations, Powers said, which should cover the cost of the Long Street memorial, as well as a good portion of the second, civic memorial being planned.