Insult to Injury: Village Says Roadside Memorial Must Go

Monday, May 3, 2010  |  Updated 7:01 PM EDT
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Insult to Injury: Village Says Roadside Memorial Must Go

The memorial.

Kacie Temprano comes to the corner of Main and Grant Streets in Farmingdale every month.

She pauses at a roadside memorial to remember 19-year-old Kaitlyn Krokowski, a life-long friend who died in a car crash there in January, 2009.

"This is where Kaitlyn is," said Temprano. "This is where we feel her and this is where we visit her."

But after 16 months, Farmingdale Village officials believe the memorial has been in place long enough.

Citing what they call "numerous" complaints about it, officials are ordering that the photos and mementos be removed, and the written messages on the pole, painted over.

"For them to try and take it down, I don't understand why," said Krokowski friend, Chris Altieri.

Monday night, Altieri, Temprano and Krokowski's family members will march down the street from the memorial to Village Hall to urge officials to change their minds.

"For somebody to try and take this away from us, it hurts," said Temprano.

Village officials called it a "difficult situation," and have offered to erect a bench nearby in Krokowski's honor.  But memorial supporters called that "impersonal" and "disrespectful."

Memorial opponents see things differently. On a newspaper blog page, some called the memorial an "eyesore" and a "distraction to drivers."

"Go to a church and light a candle," the blogger suggested.

Shoppers at a nearby supermarket voiced support for the memorial, pointing out that it has always been well maintained.

"It's not an eyesore as far as I am concerned," said Debbie D'Amico of Farmingdale.

"It doesn't hurt anyone," added long time village resident Eileen Keckeisen.

In the end, village officials said, Main Street is not a cemetery and sixteen months is long enough.

In fact, the village may consider legislation that would set a time limit for how long memorials like this could stay in place.

Even with that, however, creators of Kaitlyn's Pole vow to restore the memorial even if the village takes it down.

"It's all a tempest in a teapot," said Keckeisen. "It's crazy."

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