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NC city to build memorial honoring fallen first responders

The Fallen Heroes Memorial will honor local firefighters, EMS providers and police officers who died in the line of duty

By Casey White
The Star

SHELBY, N.C. — The corner of a block in uptown Shelby will soon be transformed into a park featuring a Fallen Heroes Memorial.

The memorial along with a new fountain, brick columns, trees, flower beds, and an event lawn will make up the Raper-Roark Park on the corner of South Lafayette Street and East Graham Street.

The Fallen Heroes Memorial will honor local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty. Shelby City Manager Rick Howell has been floating around the idea for such a memorial for several years.

“The city wants to make sure that we provide a visible memorial that reminds us of the day-to-day sacrifices that the men and women who serve us have made,” Howell said.

Plans for the park are finalized and approved, and the final plans for the memorial itself are forthcoming. T.C. Strickland will begin work at the park on Dec. 3.

The total bid for the project comes in at $189,866, with funding split between community grants, a state grant, and the city of Shelby’s general fund.

The project is expected to take 120 work days to complete, Howell said.

The city is also working to add an interactive portion to the Fallen Heroes Memorial on the city website.

QR codes on the memorial will direct smartphone uses to websites where they can read about those who lost their lives in the line of duty, like the utility worker and firefighters who lost their lives in the 1979 uptown fire and Shelby Police Officer Tim Brackeen.

“It’s more about telling the story about the sacrifice that those firefighters and law enforcement officers made,” Howell said.

In addition to the two uptown streets, the park will sit between Shelby City Hall and the former Shelby Police Department headquarters.

A parking lot adjacent to the former headquarters will be converted into greenery for the project. The former fountain on the corner was due for major work, so a replacement fountain is included in the project, Howell said.

The corner of South Lafayette and East Graham is currently designated as the Raper-Roark Plaza.

The new park retains the names of Les Roark and Rev. Sam Raper, who co-founded the Raper-Roark Trust Fund to provide financial assistance for beautification projects in uptown Shelby.

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