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HesperiaStar.com
  • Councilman floating idea for public roadside memorials

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  • HESPERIA • After seeing an expanding roadside memorial erected to honor a family of five who died in a vehicle crash last month, one council member wonders whether official markers might be more appropriate.
    And he wonders who might pay for a recognition device that could appropriately replace flowers, candles, stuffed animals, crosses and the like.
    Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith said some type of city-authorized marker might better serve surviving families and the public. But, he said, “I don’t want the taxpayers to have to pay for this.”
    “It has its pros and cons already. ... We already have a policy for memorial sites in the city,” Smith said.
    Such sites may be allowed as long as they do not pose a hindrance to vehicle or foot traffic, among other qualifications. City personnel are responsible for rearranging, moving or removing roadside memorial items impacting pedestrians, motorists, landscaping and drainage, according to a city procedural paper. Technically, the paper says, roadside memorials are in violation of city code.
    Smith’s idea was borne out of the growing roadside memorial for the Jimenez and Garcia family killed in a vehicle collision May 11 at Main Street and Balsam Avenue.
    He said an idea along the lines of a less-sprawling public memorialization requires additional consideration, refinement and public input regarding what incidents and locations would qualify for city recognition.
    Precedents for Smith’s idea exist in civic memorials for mass casualties, honors for public safety personnel — both fallen and serving — veterans memorials, public art installations and even temporary honorific or memorial displays.
    Some may qualify for state, federal or grant funding, depending on their state.
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