Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A citizen-led Memorial Committee will be formed to set the ground rules for publicly honoring deceased distinguished Lockportians.
Common Council President Anne McCaffrey read a prepared statement confirming the committee at the beginning of the council’s Wednesday business meeting, where residents, former residents and Buffalo TV reporters were gathered in anticipation of a debate about naming a city park after fallen Buffalo police officer Patricia Parete.
Instead of arguing for or against Parete Park, residents voiced nearly universal support for an all-purpose “fallen heroes” memorial somewhere in the city. Even the former Lockportian who asked for Parete Park ended up endorsing the idea.
The Council recently turned down the request by Buffalo resident Joe DiPasquale, who along with Parete was a member of the Lockport Senior High School Class of 1983. Parete died earlier this year, after being shot while on duty in 2006 and paralyzed.
Ahead of the Class of ‘83’s upcoming reunion, DiPasquale asked the Council to rename Rogers Park — and threatened to rain a torrent of bad publicity down on City Hall when he was told “no.” Hence the TV cameras at the Council meeting.
According to McCaffrey and other aldermen, the Council declined to name a park after Parete in deference to other Lockportians who may deserve memorializing, but have not had public property named after them. A few years ago the Council turned down a request by the family of Army Spec. Albert Jex, a Lockport resident who was killed in Iraq in 2009, to rename the Stevens Street bridge after him.
When faced with naming requests, the Council’s dilemma has always been the same, according to Mayor Michael Tucker: How can it name things after some fallen local heroes but not others? What’s the rationale?
The Memorial Committee’s charge is to draft a policy on memorials and naming, or renaming, parks, streets and public buildings.