The Memorial Tree Garden in Day Road Park is growing, due to the efforts of Lockport town council members Darlene DiCarlo and Pat Dufour.
Plans to expand the tree garden by about one-third were put on hold last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year more than three dozen new maple trees have been planted. The garden is now populated by about 160 trees.
DiCarlo and Dufour said they were determined to continue the progress that began a decade ago, so they launched a tree reservation campaign in the town's monthly newsletter.
“In just over three weeks, the reservation forms came pouring in to town hall,” DiCarlo said. “If you have an opportunity to get out to the park today, you’ll notice the addition of about 40 new trees, which were recently put in place with the assistance of Town of Lockport Highway Department crews.”
DiCarlo said the response to newsletter campaign was so overwhelming, trees are sold out for this year's planting season. Residents who are interested in purchasing a new tree and memorial plaque will be placed on a waiting list for the next cycle, which will likely be in the spring of 2022.
About a half dozen varieties of maple trees are featured at the park now.
In addition, town Supervisor Mark Crocker said, the town is looking into allowing residents to dedicate memorial benches along the tree garden pathway.
“We'll consider putting benches out there ... . We just have to figure out what type of benches will stand the test of time,” he said.
Dufour said the Town Board initiated the memorial tree program at Day Road Park in 2011, in an effort to enhance the walking paths at the park that are frequented by many residents on a daily basis.
“This program gives our residents the opportunity to purchase a tree and a plaque which is placed at the base, which will serve as a remembrance of someone special and allows their memory to live on forever,” Dufour said. “It became very popular and a way for those who visit the park to get their daily exercise, walk the dog, listen to the kids on the playground, catch a soccer game to enjoy and enhance the beauty of the Day Road Park. ”
DiCarlo has spent many hours at the park pruning trees, pulling weeds, sprucing up beds and placing the all-important memorial plaques at the base of the trees, according to Crocker.
“There are even some trees dedicated to the faithful companions that walked these paths with their owners on a daily basis,” DiCarlo noted.
Crocker said he appreciates all of the beautification efforts at Day Road Park over the past decade.
“Dave Miller's crews just finishing planting the new trees and everyone involved did a great job,” he said. “I'm very proud of the two councilwoman who have done a great job for the community enhancing the beauty of the park and to recognize the lives that these trees memorialize.”
Miller, the town highway superintendent, said his crews spent several days planting and staking the new trees, adding mulch and cleaning up the area.
“This was something we're proud to do for the town,” Miller said, adding that he purchased a tree for his parents. “We take pride in everything we do, but were extremely happy to work on this. It gives us a sense of duty.”
To have your name added to the memorial tree waiting list, call Dufour at 478-0609 or send an email to Darlene.DiCarlo@niagaracounty.com.
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