By ANN BELCHER
BROCTON - A famous symbol in Chautauqua County will soon return.
Patrick Hanley of Buffalo Iron Corporation puts some final rivet work into the Brocton Arch as it's prepared to return to the center of Brocton April 6. The nearly two-year project will be officially rededicated during the 200th Birthday Celebration of The Town of Portland this year.
Brocton Streets Department Supervisor Tom Allen closely inspects the beams of the Brocton Arch Thursday at Buffalo Iron Corporation. Brocton is preparing to welcome its arch back to the center of the village.
Brocton Mayor Dave Hazleton has announced that the village's four corner arch is scheduled to be put back together April 6 and 7, weather permitting.
"Myself and Tom Allen (Village Streets Supervisor) are going up to Buffalo Iron tomorrow to see the riveting process. The plan is to have the four legs put up as early as possible on Saturday, and the remainder put back up after church services in the village let out on Sunday," he said during the village board meeting.
The mayor also reported "an issue still continues to exist with the lighting. We have had conversations right up until this afternoon with Color Kinetics about the possibility of L.E.D. and color changing lights, and the quote we asked for did come in reasonable, but there still seems to be an issue with whether or not we can get it or if the vendor can sell it to us. We hope to be able to get color changing L.E.D.'s, but if that's not possible we can go back to something similar that our Electric Lineman Joe Majkowski has designed and get that into the works."
News of the announcement had only broke hours before the meeting when Village Clerk Karen Ardillo, who has served as the project's historian, posted a teaser on The Brocton Arches Facebook page that the mayor would be making his announcement.
Seeing this historic dream realized for its village will certainly shed a more meaningful light on the large scale 200th birthday celebration of the town of Portland. The arch, a commemorative gift in honor of the town, will celebrate 100 years.
Since it was announced in 2011 that the arch was the award winner of a $150,000 grant from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through the diligent assistance of CHRIC, community involvement took off. Efforts were needed to repair years of corrosion as well as structural damage resulting from automobile accident damage. The double span arch crosses Main Street, or Route 20, and Lake and Highland Avenues in the village.
Community members, businesses and civic organizations near and far stepped up to secure the matching dollar requirement of the grant award, which now has been reached and monies will be used for the sole purpose of the care and maintenance of the arch. Others, like Martha Smith and D.J. Hixson Abram poured more than dollars into the project, and lent their hearts' love for their community by organizing large scale fundraising efforts.
Each donation received, as was Rudolph Aynardi's donation at the board meeting, is personally acknowledged by the board. Those who have pitched in $250 or more to the restoration project will have their names etched in bronze on a special tribute that will be placed alongside the new arch this spring. All donors will have their names sealed into a time capsule that will be secured underground at the time of the rededication.
The arch was dismantled in October, leaving a void in the village, and in the historic landscape of the country.The Brocton arch is the only of its kind. The arch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 and has well-served its purpose as a "welcome arch" during its 100 years.
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