City of Albany considers setting time limit on makeshift memorials

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ALBANY, N.Y.—The city of Albany is considering putting a possible limit on how long makeshift memorials can stay up.

Right now, there is nothing definitive about the plan, only a framework for what could be.

An attorney in the corporation counsel's office says it all began with people calling into Mayor Jennings' radio show, complaining about the makeshift memorials.

Stacey Rhodes, the mother of Tyler Rhodes says she sees all sides of the issue.

It's been two years since Rhodes was stabbed to death in Albany's Hoffman Park.

On and around a telephone pole near the scene, still sits his makeshift memorial, a place Stacey Rhodes says she and her son's friends just visited a week and a half ago.

“They still go there to the park, they still talk to Tyler,” she says. “That's their time, on the 30th and his birthday, they still go there.”

But Rhodes says she sees all sides of the issue when it comes to the many makeshift memorials on the sides of the city streets.

“Before I lost Tyler, I would drive through and I would say to myself as I was driving, how I could never imagine my son being on a pole and my prayers are with those families. But now here I am with my child, on a pole, on a makeshift memorial. So I understand both sides.”

The city is worried about the makeshift memorials from a public safety standpoint, with some growing into the streets.

The preliminary idea right now is for memorials to be allowed for 45 days and then be gathered and stored in a Department of General Services garage for 60 more days, so family and friends could claim the items.

“When Tyler first passed, all the kids put “Tyler” in candles on the sidewalk,” says Stacey Rhodes. “Some of them fell, some of them broke, and DGS came and cleaned them up. Was I upset? Yes, I was still upset, it was fresh, it was a wound. But once I got over my anger, I said it was glass, it was broken, it's a park, there are kids playing.”

Rhodes says there is no time limit for grief and believes the city should be sensitive to the families involved.

“If they're willing to do a park, or a plaque, or a rock with a plaque on it, personally, I don't have a problem with it.”

The plan still needs to be formally drafted, reviewed by the mayor and then eventually looked at by the common council.

Family members that have ties to any of the makeshift memorials are encouraged to call the mayor's office to voice their opinions.

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