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Lockport’s veterans monument needs more repairs

LOCKPORT – State funding is being sought for an estimated $111,000 repair project at the City of Lockport’s elaborate veterans monument, Common Council President David R. Wohleben said at Wednesday’s meeting.

The 50-foot marble obelisk was designed by Lockport artist A. Raphael Beck and was erected in 1930 as a remembrance of World War I. The monument is topped with an allegorical female figure meant to represent patriotism, and is surrounded by marble steps atop a concrete foundation.

It underwent $76,250 worth of repairs in 2004, but the work hasn’t lasted, Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said.

A June 2 engineering study by the Buffalo firm of Nussbaumer & Clark showed pieces of stone and mortar are falling and the silicone sealant that was supposed to prevent water from infiltrating is failing. It said the main issue is “displacement of the outer ring of marble steps and deterioration of the concrete under the outer ring.”

The monument is located in Veterans Park on East Avenue, across from Eastern Niagara Hospital. The street is part of Route 31 and is heavily traveled by trucks. Wohleben said the traffic vibration isn’t doing the monument any good.

He said the stones are shifting and water is leaking between them and into the foundation. The water erosion problem is similar to the woes that led to the last repair project. Repairs will include excavation of the steps and the walkway around them, Wohleben said.

Wohleben said the city hopes to receive word this year on its grant application to the state Dormitory Authority, but the repair work probably wouldn’t occur until next spring.

McCaffrey said the city doesn’t have a backup plan yet if the state grant isn’t approved.

Wohleben said once the monument is repaired, the city will turn its attention to the dormant Fallen Heroes Memorial, for which a little more than $3,000 was raised by a previous committee.

The memorial is supposed to honor Lockport residents who died in the line of duty in the military, police, fire or other public service. In 2013, the former committee did establish criteria for names to be inscribed on the memorial and chose a site in Outwater Park overlooking the Niagara Escarpment, but fund-raising made little progress. The cost estimate for an elaborate memorial rose as high as $350,000.

McCaffrey said the money that was raised is being held by Lockport Main Street Inc., a promotional agency.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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