TRUSTEES PARK 9/11 icons acquired for local memorial project
Soil from the Pennsylvania plane crash site will be used in park.
AUSTINTOWN -- The Trustees Park memorial honoring victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will include pieces of all three disaster sites.
Pat Connolly of the Austintown Beautification Committee, the group that's spearheading the memorial effort, wrote a letter to the Pentagon a couple of months ago asking for a piece of that wreckage.
"After two months, I didn't think we were going to get anything," he said.
But then he received a letter from the U.S. Defense Department, saying that some of the salvage from the destroyed portion of the building had been retained.
"They called one of our committee members to get some more information, and it looks like we're going to get something," he said.
The committee hopes for a piece of limestone from the Pentagon building. That would complement a piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed the same day.
The committee received the twin towers piece last year.
Connolly also recently visited the crash site of Flight 93 near Somerset, Pa., but all of the wreckage had been removed.
"I asked if I could take a 5-gallon bucket of dirt, and they told me I could," he said.
The soil will be used in a rose garden at the memorial.
Ground is expected to be broken on the memorial in the Raccoon Road park within the next two months.
Thomas Fok and Associates donated design work for the project, the chairman said.
The total cost is estimated at about $200,000. About one-fourth of that has been collected.
"It's quite an undertaking," Connolly said. "There's about an acre there, and we're planning on utilizing the whole acre."
Denise DeBartolo York made a "substantial contribution" to the project, but Connolly declined to divulge the amount.
The design consists of three memorials, one for each of the sites, a gazebo, flagpoles, old-fashioned park benches, a brick walkway snaking through the park and an eternal flame in memory of the victims.
Plans also include etching the victims' names into a portion of the commemorative site.
Fund raising continues for the memorial, with committee members selling bricks to pave the walkways for $40. Bricks may be inscribed with the buyer's message.
Forms to order the bricks are available from a mailbox at the park, Connolly said.
He may also be reached at (330) 799-0565.
A spaghetti dinner to raise money for the memorial is planned from noon to 5 p.m. March 20 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Norquest Boulevard.
"We need all of the support we can get," Connolly said. "This will be a nice thing for the Mahoning Valley -- a real shining star for us."
Committee members hope the memorial becomes a destination for field trips for schoolchildren from across the valley.
"I think people will be pleased with the memorial -- I know they will," Connolly said. "It's something deserving for the people who lost their lives. We will never forget."