By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette — In October, the New York Power Authority offered to help a local group shed some quality light on a veterans memorial under construction at Hyde Park in the city of Niagara Falls.
Weeks later, one of the members of the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial Commission says the logistics of the power authority’s lighting deal still haven’t been worked out, leaving the timing of the monument’s completion up in the air for the time being.
“The project is pretty much stalled right now, waiting for the electrical lighting,” commission member Dave Fabrizio told city lawmakers during an update on the project earlier this week.
Last fall, commission members announced that the authority had approved the purchase of a state-of-the-art lighting system for the memorial. The lighting system, which is expected to cost between $60,000 and $70,000, needs to be installed before construction crews can begin pouring concrete around the memorial.
Commission members said last year that they had hoped to have the lighting system installed in time to allow for the pouring of concrete this spring. They also were planning to hold a dedication ceremony on Memorial Day weekend.
Fabrizio told council members Monday that he remains hopeful the project will move forward as expected, while admitting that, unless formal arrangements are made soon with the power authority, it may be necessary to delay the dedication ceremony.
Originally, Fabrizio said, the plan was to have the city find a contractor to do the work through a formal request for proposals and have the authority cover the cost through an agreement between the two parties. To date, he said, the deal has yet to be finalized.
“It’s not that we’re not doing anything, it’s just our hands are tied right now,” Fabrizio said.
Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian asked Mayor Paul Dyster’s administration to reach out to the authority in an effort to try to speed up the process. Dyster indicated that the administration will follow up on the request.
The $4.1 million monument is being built on 6 acres of parkland donated by the city. The main section features the names of 463 veterans from Niagara Falls who were killed in the line of duty. The list of names includes service men and women who served in all conflicts dating back to the Civil War.
A second part of the monument will feature a Wall of Honor that will run along both sides of the main structure and provide space for the names of those who have served honorably in the U.S. military, not only from the city, but any part of the country.
The memorial’s final component will consist of commemorative stones placed in front of the main monument that will feature the names of all the individuals from Niagara Falls who received the U.S. Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the