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County To Name Industrial Parks After Those Who Die In Combat

Chautauqua County wants to honor some local residents who have died while serving in the military.

During the county legislature meeting, lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution to establish a policy of naming economic development areas for fallen members of the Armed Forces, with a primary emphasis on recognizing and memorializing those who were county residents, enlisted or non-commissioned officers, and who died in combat.

The proposal was brought to the legislature on behalf of County Executive PJ Wendel.

During the discussion, Legislator Fred Larson, D-Jamestown, said while he’s not opposed to the policy, he did question how the decision will be made. “Naming anything for anyone who gives their life in service to their country is a fine idea, so I will vote for it, but it occurs to me what is the logic, God forbid, Sheriff Quattrone is here tonight, if one of his deputies is killed in the line of duty. We can’t name a 60-acre industrial park after our own county sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty,” he said.

Larson also thought consideration should be given to other county employee positions, including Department of Public Facilities employees, who are killed while working for the county. “The logic of it, excluding all these other possible folks that die in our service escapes me,” he said.

Mark Geise, the president and chief executive officer of the county IDA, was asked about naming industrial parks.

Geise said Ripley, which is the latest industrial park the county is working on, is currently referred to only as the “Ripley site” in all its state documents. He didn’t know if changing it would create confusion on the state level.

The Ripley site is still in process and construction has yet to be started.

Geise also wondered who would decide which fallen soldier a park is named after and cautioned against upsetting different family members that aren’t selected, which can create hard feelings.

Legislator David Wilfong, R-Jamestown, who apparently worked with Wendel on this resolution, said the intent was that the home community would get to decide on the naming rights.

He also said that while it would be tragic if a county employee, like a DPF employee or a sheriff deputy dies in the line of duty, there are still unique challenges those serving in the military face. “A soldier leads a different life. The soldier is sent to different places. Those workers lived nearby. They have their families, but soldiers are sent all over the world and sometimes in hostile environments,” he said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

Chautauqua County has some currently established industrial parks including: Stoneman Industrial Park in the town of Busti, Chadwick Bay Industrial Park in the town of Dunkirk, and the Mason Industrial Park in the town of Ellicott. No announcement was made if those parks will retain those names or be renamed in the future.

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