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LOCKPORT – The group that funds and operates the city’s skateboard park may do the same for the planned Fallen Heroes Memorial, city officials said last week.

The Lockport Community Services Group may vote March 24 to use its existing not-for-profit status to take over fundraising for the memorial, said Alderman John Lombardi III, chairman of the board.

Both sites are in Outwater Park.

“We will act as clerk of the works for the project,” Lombardi said. But he said he didn’t envision Lockport Community Services maintaining the memorial.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said the project would cost an estimated $350,000 to build and needs to be carried out in phases.

Would anything be constructed this year? “I’m not sure,” McCaffrey said. “I’m hopeful they can do a Phase 1 with the center fountain, the flagpole and a marker.”

“That’s one of the things that John’s group is interested in, that the budget would be as accurate as possible,” Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick said. “I don’t think it’s realistic to think we could raise $350,000 this year, and I don’t think anyone thought it was realistic.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Sammarco, who had been chairing meetings of the memorial committee, said that he is turning the gavel back to Genewick and Alderwoman Kathryn J. “Kitty” Fogle, who had been appointed as the original co-chairs last year by then-Mayor Michael W. Tucker.

Sammarco said in an email that he made the move after a long talk with Genewick.

“The memorial project is now at a juncture where it requires leadership from individuals possessing the requisite energy, time, and above all, greater access to the individuals and various entities making final decisions,” he wrote.

Some of those decisions may be made at the next Fallen Heroes meeting March 25 in Lockport Town Hall. The town has joined the project, with Councilman Mark C. Crocker its representative.

Fogle called for a return to basics. She recalled that the memorial started as an alternative following the Council’s refusal to rename a park after Buffalo Officer Patricia Parete, a Lockport native who died last year, six years after being shot on duty and left a paraplegic.

“This all started with Patty Parete, and for me, Jeff Incardona,” Fogle said, referring to a Niagara County sheriff’s deputy from Lockport who died in an on-duty car crash in 1993. “I just wanted them to have somewhere to sit and remember their people.”

But the project grew into an effort to memorialize all those from Lockport who ever died on military, police or fire duty. The renderings created for the committee envisioned rows of panels with room for scores of names.

“I think we’ve only raised about $3,000,” Fogle said. She estimated that her plans for a first phase would cost $10,000, “maybe not that much.”

Fogle said, “We’re going to put a new cap on the fountain. We’re going to have concrete donated and put that around it. We’ll put some rose bushes around it, and a marker. And our Boy Scout wants to do the trellis. That’s important.”

She was referring to Eagle Scout candidate Joey Prisaznuk of Troop 98 in Pendleton.

Although there would be an effort at future fundraising, Genewick said, “We want to have a memorial this year.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com