BROCTON - The green double arch that towers above Route 20 at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Lake Avenue since 1913 is going to get a makeover.
The four legs, painted forest green, stand at the four corners of the intersection. From North to South, the arch spans the point where Lake Avenue turns into Highland Avenue and from East to West it crosses Main Street in downtown Brocton. No matter how you take that intersection you're going to pass though a piece of New York history.
The arch crosses Brocton's most used intersection. It is a historical site according to the State and National register of historical places and it was built to celebrate Brocton's centennial in 1913.
The double arches' future
According to Brocton Historian Dan King, the goal is to have the new arches finished by 2013. It is estimated that the total cost of rebuilding the arches will be $180,000. At least half of that is expected to be funded by state and national grants but the village is working on a number of other fundraising opportunities.
Brad Anderson, creator of Marmaduke, was raised in Brocton and he has already done some lithographs as well as a design for T-shirts which will be available at local shops and the village office.
The plan is to replace the first 10 feet and to refurbish the top part by repainting and replacing the electric lights. The steel frame that greets Brocton's visitors and residents will be the same.
The double arches'
In 1996 the Brocton double arch became the only one of its kind in the national register for historical landmarks, according to King. "It's the only one east of the Rockies. At one time, a trolley ran along this part of Route 20, then called Buffalo Road," he said. "It ran all the way to Erie."
The northwest leg was hit by a vehicle a few years ago but that was the only major damage the arch has sustained. The lights were added about 20 years after it was erected.
"We light up the arches during Christmas," King said. "The lights were put up about 20 years after the arch was built. We don't use them often anymore because they're a wire hazard."
The sign that hangs at the point where the two arches connect was replaced with a less heavy sign.
The top will be refurbished, the bottom posts replaced, and the light fixtures will be updated to save energy. The structure will still have enough original parts to be a historical landmark.
The legs of the arch are rooted in dirt but after the work is done the new legs will be fixed in concrete.
"The contractor's estimate of $180,000 includes all the labor needed to take down the arches, refurbish them and stand them back up," King said. "It's going to take some funding but we're already looking into raising those funds.
"Because we're a historical landmark we should qualify for 50 percent grant money but we're hoping we can get approved for something more like 80 percent if we can get in on the America's Beautification Grant."
The town has sent letters to Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton and Rep. Brian Higgins but they are also hoping to start up some community fundraisers.
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