Tag Archives: Veterans Memorial park

Village schedules 9/11 ceremony

6 Sep

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One of the most solemn anniversaries in our nation’s history comes around again next week. The two simple words by which we all know it belie the horror of the day: 9/11.

The Village of Webster always does a very nice job commemorating the occasion, with a ceremony held at the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park, on North Ave.

Scheduled for next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the event usually lasts around 45 or 50 minutes, and includes first responders, and local and regional political representatives who offer some comments. Last year the Chorus of the Genesee also participated, performing some patriotic tunes.

Members of the Webster Fire Department are planning to congregate at the station on South Ave. at around 6:15 and march as a group to the ceremony. You won’t want to miss that.

Click here to see the blog I wrote about last year’s 9/11 ceremony.

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Village looks to upgrade two of its parks

30 Jun

If you’re a fan of our village parks, here’s something that might interest you:  Our village administrators are looking to make improvements to two of them, Schantz Park on State Rd. and Veterans Memorial Park (Gazebo Park) on North Ave.

A lot of changes are being proposed, all of which can be seen in the photos I’ve included above. You can also click here to see a detailed .pdf document:  2018.06.26 DRAFT Webster Parks Public Meeting. But here are some of the highlights:

Improvements to Schantz Park would focus mostly on the southeast portion of the park, adjacent to State Road. The tennis courts, which are infrequently used and are in very poor repair, would be removed entirely. Replacing them would be a much larger parking lot, a pavilion and a natural play area. All would presumably make the park more comfortable and welcoming for families and fans who come to watch ball games played there.

Plans for Veterans Memorial Park are much more extensive.

The biggest change would be the addition of a sidewalk encircling the entire grassy area of the park, expanding into a larger paved area directly in front of the gazebo. The idea here is to encourage better circulation and additional seating area, with the added benefit of providing easier access for those with disabilities.

The veteran’s memorial itself and its gardens would be moved from the southeast corner of the park to the northeast. And fear not, the park will still have a clock, although chances are very good it’s going to be replaced with something as handsome, but a lot less troublesome.

Sculptures, additional plantings, a rain garden, and a decorative gateway will make things look pretty.

While plans have been sketched out for both parks, right now the village is only planning to try for a state grant to work on Veterans Park, and focus on Schantz Park some time in the future.

The proposed upgrades come from recommendations provided by a six-member advisory committee comprised of village and local business representatives. Matt Chatfield, Executive Director of the Webster Economic Development Alliance, explained that the public meeting was the next step in the “quick concept phase” of the proposal.

“The grant application is just the first of many steps in this process,” he said. “If the Village is awarded funding, there will be several additional public involvement opportunities prior to any final design and construction.”

Of course this is going to be a long process (anything involving government administration usually is). The grant application isn’t due until the end of July, and we won’t know until December if we’ve been awarded any funds. If so, then there’s an entire year-long park design process. Construction wouldn’t even begin until late 2020.

No other information/comment gathering sessions are planned at this point. However, if you’d like to share your opinions about the planned improvements, you can fill out this form here. (It only asks your thoughts about Veterans Memorial Park because it’s the only one on the table for now.)

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Webster remembers

12 Sep

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The Village of Webster gathered Monday night to pay honor to the men and women who lost their lives during the horrific events of September 11, 2001. About 100 residents convened in Veterans Memorial Park for the 50-minute ceremony, joined by more than 30 Webster fire fighters and first responders, Village Mayor Darrell Byerts, a handful of other state, town and village representatives, and the Chorus of the Genesee.

Mayor Byerts acted as emcee, sharing the podium with many of those representatives who added their thoughts and personal recollections from the day.  Many of those comments were directed at the ranks of first responders who stood proudly near the edge of the park. And those were the comments I considered most meaningful.

We must never forget what happened that day and the brave people who lost their lives. But it’s also important to appreciate those who still keep up safe every day.

Mayor Byerts was the first to sound that call. He asked us to remember what it was like in the hours and days after 9/11. We were a country united, helping strangers in the street, showing our patriotism by flying flags from every pole we could find. We mourned the loss of 2,977 innocent lives. Among them were 412 emergency workers, including 343 FDNY firefighters.  We publicly thanked them for their efforts.

The same thing happened when Webster suffered the loss of two of our own firefighters at the hand of a madman on December 24, 2012. We came together again as one, and showed how much we love and respect our local firefighters.

But, as Byerts noted, that public outpouring of emotion didn’t last.

“As time passes, memories fade and those appointed to protect us are forgotten,” he said. “The words ‘thank you’ are rarely spoken.”

Syed Ahmed Mustafa, president of Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support, further reminded us that “People don’t become heroes because of what they do one day, but because of what they do every day.”

Those are powerful thoughts. What I took from them was this:

We must never forget September 11 and keep those who lost their lives close to our hearts. But one of the best way to honor them is to appreciate those who continue to race to the scene of a horrific accident or run into burning buildings, not knowing what exactly they’re going to find.

Or, by the way, WHO they’re going to find. Because, as Ahmed said, what 9/11 taught us is that “no matter where we work, pray or play, we are all American.”

Here are several more photos from the evening:

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