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Community aiding Vietnam Wall visit, Lockport official says

LOCKPORT – The visit to Lockport Town Hall of a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is drawing wide interest and lots of volunteer help from the community, Councilman Paul W. Siejak said at a Town Board meeting Wednesday.

The Vietnam Wall, a three-fifths scale model of the one in Washington, D.C., will be displayed on the front lawn of Town Hall, 6560 Dysinger Road, from June 11-14.

Siejak said he held a meeting for potential volunteers Saturday in the Lockport Elks Lodge, and got a large response.

He reported that members of the United Auto Workers will be helping set up and take down the wall, in association with town employees, who are members of the Teamsters Union. Also, about 70 local Boy Scouts will be holding a weekend “camporee” at the former Carpenters Union building near Town Hall, which is to be a staging area for overflow parking. The scouts also will be assisting with the visit of the Wall, which carries the names of more than 58,000 American service personnel killed in the Vietnam War.

Also, Siejak said the Modern Disposal has donated 14 porta-potties, four of them handicapped accessible, which will be set up at Town Hall and at the Carpenters building. The company will clean and service those toilets every day of the Wall’s visit – “a huge gift,” Siejak called it.

The Florida-based veterans’ groups that own the traveling wall charged the town $6,800 for the visit, plus $2,000 for hotel rooms for the attendants. Also, the town approved a $2,138 contract Wednesday with All Season Rental to provide a 20-by-40-foot tent, an 8-by-16-foot portable stage, 400 feet of red carpet to protect the ground along the Wall, 10 tables and 100 chairs. There will be daily ceremonies at the Wall.

Because of anticipated large crowds, Siejak said he has been approached by vendors, but except for veterans’ organizations who will be allowed to set up tables inside Town Hall, there won’t be much in the way of commerce at the site.

“The memorial is sacred ground. We’re not going to turn it into a circus or a flea market,” Siejak said.

Another organization meeting for those involved in the event will be held at 10 a.m. May 9 at Town Hall.

On another topic Wednesday, the board approved a zoning amendment reducing the minimum lot size for new homes. The town reduced the minimum width of a home lot in a residential zone from 100 feet to 85 feet, and set the width in an agricultural zone at 100 feet, down from 125 feet. The minimum surface areas of home lots also were reduced.

The move places Lockport home lots among the smallest in Niagara County. Figures compiled by county Senior Planner Amy E. Fisk showed that only the towns of Niagara, Lewiston and Wheatfield allow narrower lots than Lockport. The Town of Niagara’s lots can be as small as 60 feet across, while lewiston allows 75 feet in some zones and Wheatfield 80 feet in some areas, Fisk said.

Although Supervisor Marc R. Smith said previously the move would spur increased development, Fisk said at a county Planning Board meeting Monday that there’s another way to look at it.

“This is a smart growth measure, so you’re not using too much land,” she said as the county board approved the plan.