City officials detailed initiatives earlier this month that could help plans for a 9/11 Memorial to finally move forward. The memorial structure project has drawn voluminous public feedback and undergone several conceptual changes over the years.
The City Council will likely vote on a measure next month to determine if excess funds for the ongoing repairs of Pier C Park could be used for the memorial, as well as for repairs of the adjacent Pier A Park. If funds are not secured in a timely fashion, the city stands to lose a $250,000 grant intended for the construction of the memorial.
The current plans for the 9/11 Memorial call for the construction of two symmetrical, semicircular platforms, each standing one and a half feet tall. Each raised semicircle will hold half glass panels, and will be accompanied by lighting fixtures.
“The memorial is something that has gone through a tremendous community process.” – Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
The city is currently working with the South Waterfront Board to retrieve the costs for both the memorial and the park repairs. Zimmer said in a memo to the council that although the board has been receptive to funding the repairs, the agreement still needs to be changed.
In order to ensure that the funding is in place, Zimmer is asking the council to repurpose a bond originally intended for the Pier C repairs. The city will soon look to award a contract for construction. Zimmer said in the memo that if the funding is not secured in a timely fashion, and a contract is not awarded, the city could soon lose the $250,000 Department of Community Affairs grant.
The City Council was expected to vote on the measure during the last meeting, but it was pulled due to the administration’s desire to review the figures associated with the necessary costs.
“I certainly hope that the council will understand that there is financing issues,” said Zimmer. “We want to follow through and make sure we complete this memorial.”
Hoboken lost 57 residents on Sept. 11, 2001, the most of any ZIP code in the United States.
“I think it is very important that we have a memorial that remembers everyone who was lost,” said Zimmer. “It gives a place of our community to go, and for visitors to go.”
The discussions for the structure have included the conception of an island memorial being built off Pier A Park. However, the multimillion dollar price tag was determined to be too high, so the committee and the city worked on a new design, with a memorial nestled in the trees of the downtown park.
“The projection that was originally proposed was $5 or 6 million,” said Zimmer. “When I came into office, I had the difficult task of going to the [September 11th Memorial] Committee and saying that we were not able [to fulfill the plan].”
The city hosted a public meeting to receive input on the design and location of the proposed memorial, which was subsequently approved by the council. The plan was adapted to represent its current model, which, according to city spokesperson Juan Melli, eventually had to be changed due to a lack of support for the glass panels.
“There were important but minor structural changes [that needed to be made] to support those glass panels,” said Melli.
“The memorial is something that has gone through a tremendous community process,” said Zimmer.
Zimmer said that both the Pier A and memorial work will not require the closing down of the entire park, which is heavily used by residents during the warm weather.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.