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Cayuga County veterans

Members of the Carnicelli-Indelicato American Legion Post #1776 speak about a new memorial they want to build in Auburn, during the city council meeting Thursday night. 

An Auburn veterans group is hoping to build a new monument in downtown Auburn on city-owned property at 1 E. Genesee St. The memorial would honor the founders of two longtime organizations that have done much good in the community: The Carnicelli-Indelicato American Legion Post #1776 and the Purple Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps.

"A lot of the history of how these organizations were formed, how they exist today, gets lost over time," Nick Valenti, a member of the Legion post, told the Auburn City Council last week. "The remembrance of these men and their sacrifice is still going to be there after they're gone."

We're guessing most residents would support this project. Monuments such as these are an important part of preserving the community's history.

Auburn officials first need to make sure the proposed monument is logistically feasible by checking for potential impact on underground utilities. But they also should use this request as an impetus to finish the establishment of a policy that can guide the city manager and council in future decisions.

For about a decade, the city has had a memorial moratorium in place on memorials. There are various logical reasons why a city would want to limit memorials, no matter how well-intentioned and personally important they may be for the people seeking to install them. For one thing, structures built on city property become the city's responsibility for maintaining. And allowing limitless memorial installations could quickly turn a public park into something resembling a cemetery, or it could allow messaging on city property that's not reflective of the community's values.

But while the moratorium is supposed to block new memorials from being installed on city property, it does allow for the city manager and city council to OK individual requests. And that's where the potential for trouble comes in if the city is not consistent and fair.

Auburn lacks a solid a policy for how the manager and council should review requests to break the moratorium. This was brought up to the council and the manager about a year ago, but as the men and women seeking to install this new tribute wait for an answer, the same situation exists regarding guidelines for considering this request.

Our advice is for the city, should the infrastructure impact be negligible, to allow this particular request to go forward. But the council should also use this case to establish a clear timeline for getting a solid policy in place for reviewing future requests. 

The Citizen Editorial Board includes publisher Rob Forcey, managing editor Mike Dowd and executive editor Jeremy Boyer.

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