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Domestic Violence Tribute Garden nears completion


Fri, Sep 11th 2015 08:20 pm

Public space at Isle View Park is first of its kind; ribbon-cutting, bike-a-thon and walk Sept. 26

The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women ("ECCSW") and the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry ("Parks"), in conjunction with local domestic violence agencies and service providers, have announced the official opening of the Domestic Violence Tribute Garden at Isle View Park will take place with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Named the Tribute Garden because it honors survivors, fallen victims and families affected by domestic violence, the ceremony will mark the culmination of a six-year collaboration between the ECCSW, Parks Department, community advocates and domestic violence services providers to make the garden a reality. The garden is the first of its kind in a county park and is the only known memorial of its type in the country.

"Erie County is leading the way in recognizing and talking about the scourge of domestic violence, and the Tribute Garden demonstrates in a very visual way not only our commitment to ending this scourge, but also to remembering its victims," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "This quiet place for reflection is a powerful reminder that, while domestic violence exists, we are united against it."

The sixth annual Erie County-sponsored Break-the-Cycle bike-a-thon and walk to raise awareness about domestic violence will take place at Isle View Park immediately before the ceremony. Earlier this year, the Niagara Greenway Commission awarded the Garden Project nearly $200,000, which allowed for completion of the project in time for this popular annual event. Funds for the garden, situated in a scenic area overlooking the Niagara River, came from founding sponsors and private, corporate and individual donors who understand the importance of building awareness of domestic violence while striving to save lives and "break the cycle" of violence.

Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy Sawrie Becker said, "The significance of holding an annual event and the impact of a permanent memorial to lives devastated by domestic violence will hopefully be a catalyst to prevent further violence. Silence is deafening and deadly. Awareness can make a difference in saving lives."

Erie County provided the park land and seed money for the garden, while the Parks Department worked with landscape architect Joy Kuebler on implementation at the site. Kuebler also led a community collaboration group through several design meetings until final design elements were determined.

The garden's footprint includes two walls of bricks and stones honoring or memorializing loved ones, an earth-berm amphitheater, bench settings and plantings. A visual focal point of the garden is an intricate metal-forged trellis designed by sculptor Sarah Fonzi of the Foundry, to be installed prior to the ribbon-cutting event.

Programming for the ceremony will include a Native American blessing of the land; a performance by New York City actress and domestic violence survivor Lisa Regina, whose monologues describe what domestic violence looks like and how survivors and families can heal; several poetry readings; and local survivors claiming the garden as a place to celebrate their hope and healing through the beauty and peace it offers.

This year's bike-a-thon and walk gets underway at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Register online at www.tributegardenwny.org. The Tribute Garden ribbon-cutting will follow at 10:40 a.m.

For more information on the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, visit http://www2.erie.gov/csw/. For more on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visithttp://www2.erie.gov/parks/.

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