CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – In a unanimous vote, the Clarence Town Board approved a proposal to take over the property where Colgan Flight 3407 crashed into two homes, killing 50 people.
A memorial now sits where the plane went down. Wednesday night, Flight 3407 families dressed all in red packed Clarence Town Hall, asking the town to take over the property. The contingent pointed out that they have already paid for the memorial through donations and paid maintenance contracts on it for the next 20 years.
Michael Powers, President of Remember Flight 3407, Inc., said, “No one asked the town for anything. Not labor, not money, not property.”
Now that five years has passed since the crash, the landowner sought to turn the property over to the town – for free.
Karen Wielinski, owner of the Long Street property, said, “I want you to think about your own families as I talk about my family.”
Wielinski lost her home and her husband Doug when the plane crashed on the 1.5 acre site.
“Not retaining ownership of the [property] on Long Street would bring my family some much needed separation from the tragedy,” she said, choking back tears. “Would you deny giving that relief to your families?”
But town board members still had concerns.
Clarence Town Board member Bernard Kolber said, “We cannot bind future town boards for what their actions would be.”
Clarence Town Board member Patrick Casilio said, “I wouldn’t want to see somebody 10 years from decide to recover a piece of the plane on that property and upset the people sitting here right now. I really think those details ought to be worked out.”
But in the end, the vote was unanimous to accept the property as town land. A deed will be drawn up with at least one major stipulation: that the memorial site cannot be changed significantly from what it is now.