A 15-foot clock tower has been ordered and will be installed on West Hartford’s Park Road this fall.
By Ronni Newton
In many communities a clock tower serves as a focal point and gathering place, and often becomes an iconic symbol. In West Hartford, the Park Road neighborhood will soon have a clock tower to serve that purpose as well as honor former “Mayor of Park Road” Richard Patrissi – who himself was an iconic figure in the community.
Patrissi, who passed away in March 2013, dedicated his life to improving the Park Road neighborhood. He was the former owner of Patrissi Nursery on Ringgold St., but also a key figure in the resurgence of the Park Road neighborhood through the annual Park Road Parade that he founded, the Park Road Neighborhood Association, and many other efforts large and small.
Immediately after Patrissi’s passing people began to discuss an appropriate memorial to honor the special man.
“His dream was always to have a clock on Park Rd., to have people say ‘Meet me at the clock,’” said Helen Rubino-Turco, director of Human and Leisure Services for the Town of West Hartford and a member of the Richard Patrissi Memorial Committee.
The committee, which began raising funds in May 2014, is now just $7,000 short of its $30,000 goal to purchase, install, and maintain an impressive, customized clock dedicated to Patrissi. Donations were collected at the Celebrity Breakfast at Effie’s Place in June, through pledges, and in response to a show broadcast on WHC-TV. Committee member John Paindiris said that donations are still coming in.
“In a very short period of time we’ve been able to gather support from many segments of the community,” said Rubino-Turco, who has been collecting the donations. Many of Patrissi’s high school classmates, from Hall High School ’55, have contributed, she said.
Rubino-Turco also said she has been touched by the notes that accompanied many of the donations. They included phrases like “it’s an honor,” “fitting tribute,” “privilege to give this contribution,” and “lovely idea.” One donor wrote, “Richard brought out the best in me and overlooked the worst,” Rubino-Turco said. She hopes to have the opportunity to read some of the notes to community members, perhaps at the dedication or at a future event.
Paindiris said that the clock, which will be placed on the north side of Park Road at the crosswalk in front of the Playhouse on Park, has been ordered. “We’re hoping to have it installed by September,” he said. The committee is currently working on wording for a plaque as part of the memorial, and the dedication will likely be held right before this year’s Park Road Parade on October 18, 2014.
“It will be a very fitting tribute to someone who contributed so much to the community,” said Rubino-Turco. “He was a great cheerleader, and always so warm and welcoming. It’s no wonder the Park Rd. community – really the whole community – wants to contribute.”
If you would like to donate, send your check payable to “Town of West Hartford, Patrissi Memorial” to West Hartford Town Hall, 50 South Main St., Room 128, West Hartford, CT 06107.