NEWFANE – Veterans will soon have a small park dedicated to them in the heart of Newfane as a project that’s been on the drawing board for at least a decade becomes a reality this fall.
Bulldozers began moving dirt in late September to create a roughly 25 foot by 60 foot green space on town property just south of Newfane Town Hall at 2737 Main St.
“We’re going to have a large memorial stone representing all five branches of the services in the middle of it,” said Newfane Town Supervisor Timothy Horanburg, who watches progress from his town hall office window. “We’ll have concrete pavers, benches and decorative blocks.”
This has long been on the town’s wish list, Horanburg said.
“We had talked about it since we moved town hall here, but no one had the money for it,” said Horanburg. “So, we put it in the grant (application).”
The town received a $421,000 grant from state and federal governments last year for the project, which also includes numerous upgrades to the Main Street business district.
News of that grant was just what Paul Leader, past commander of the Newfane American Legion Post 873, had been waiting for.
“We have been working on this for more than 10 years and we had different sites in town in mind for it, but then they would get paved over and made into parking lots,” he said. “Then, Tim got this grant and the town already owned this property. We had a committee and a bunch of ideas and worked with an architect to put everything together.”
Horanburg said the grant will cover “80 percent of the project, with 20 percent, or $80,000, coming from the town.”
The Newfane Veteran’s Memorial Park and Main Street improvements should be completed in six to eight weeks, Horanburg said.
Leader said he is hoping the veterans park will be ready in time for a dedication ceremony Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
“We’re going to have a five-sided, black granite memorial stone, with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard on it,” Leader said. “It will be a teachable park, too, about the different wars and conflicts. We’ll also have plaques around the park, a flagpole and four granite benches.”
“It’s a narrow park, but it will be a place to come and remember people by and think about them. This will be good for the people of Newfane,” Leader said.
Leader is still working on plans to memorialize the names of all Newfane veterans. He may be contacted at 471-0382.
Stan Johnson, the Newfane American Legion’s commander, credited Leader with spearheading this park project, which he stressed is for all veterans and veterans groups. He said Leader has long been devoted to the project, while Horanburg has helped make it a reality.
The American Legion post doesn’t have its own building, and holds meetings in the town hall. “'… So this is even more meaningful to us,” Johnson said. “We’re really looking forward to this.”
In addition to the new park, Horanburg said the grant will be used “to spruce up Main Street, from Ewings Road to East and West Avenues. It’s a full two blocks long – it’s our business section.”
“There won’t be any road work done,” he explained. “We’ll be taking the paving blocks out and replacing them with stamped concrete. At the south end of Main Street, there will be a little drainage work and we’ll be putting some ‘Welcome to Newfane’ signage up. We’ll be replacing some trees and putting in some benches.
“We had a project back in 1984 when we put in the paving blocks and they’ve been beaten up over 30 years,” he said. “This was something we needed to do and the grant gave us the perfect opportunity.”