City wants Hero Banners up by holiday

OBSERVER File photo Dunkirk’s Hero Banners honoring veterans are up along the Lake Erie waterfront last year.

The Battle of the Banners is not over yet in Dunkirk.

Mayor Kate Wdowiasz said Tuesday the city’s Hero Banners honoring veterans will all be up by Memorial Day, after all. Her statement came after the Common Council accepted a $3,000 donation from the Hero Banner Committee. The cash is intended to pay for overtime incurred by city workers in erecting the banners.

Veterans and their supporters expressed outrage Tuesday that the banners were not prioritized by the city. Councilmember Natalie Luczkowiak, founder of Dunkirk’s Hero Banner initiative, was also less than pleased.

Wdowiasz said, “I’m not going to slam any of the community organizations but we did have some of our parks people tied up for significant chunks of time to assist with planting trees this year. That was one of the contributing factors for this debacle we seem to be in right now.”

Mike Przybycien, deputy Department of Public Works director, said, “We only have so many people to do the work and we’re on very limited overtime. We’re doing the best we can. The banners that went up last year are not a problem. It’s the new banners and the brackets — we just received the brackets and banners, I believe, Friday.”

Luczkowiak commented, “We should never put trees before veterans. Veterans and Memorial Day go hand in hand. I mean, priorities here. Other municipalities have them up, they understand — how come we didn’t?”

Councilmember Nancy Nichols stated that it was her program, not a formal city government initiative.

“It doesn’t matter! All of that doesn’t matter!” Luczkowiak replied, raising her voice and throwing up her hands. “They should be up by now.”

“Well, then you get somebody to get you in a bucket truck, and go up there and do it,” Nichols shot back.

Several speakers from the public later lambasted the city for not putting up the banners up by Memorial Day.

“This is a slap in the face to the veterans… it’s a disgrace for this city to not have the banners up,” said Diane Anson, a Hero Banner Committee member.

She said in speaking to DPW employees, they told her it took four hours to get one of the new brackets up, for one of this year’s second round of banners. “I can put an exhaust system on in four (hours) right from the manifold and the tailpipe and that’s me. So you’re not going to tell me it’s taking four hours to put just one bracket up.”


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