Waterbury-LaSalle 9/11 monument not approved by Parks Department

Schneider Sampson Square was to be the site of a 15th anniversary memorial to September 11, 2001. The plan for the memorial was scuttled after the Department of Parks and Recreation turned it down.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

A planned 15th anniversary memorial to the victims of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks has been scuttled by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Community leaders had designed a permanent memorial area in Schneider Sampson Square as a tribute to commemorate the tragedy surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in 2001.

The local activists designed a monument that included a piece of metal from the original World Trade Center site.

The 3-sided, seven foot wide and tall granite memorial was sited for a location across the street from P.S. 14, said Eugene Lynch, a local activist and retired firefighter

All materials and labor for the installation would have been donated, said Lynch, and it would have come at no cost to Parks.

However, Parks signaled last week that it was no longer accepting 9/11 memorials in local parks, said CB 10 member Robert Bieder, who had contacted the agency on the matter.

“I just thought this was a no-brainer,” said Bieder, adding “I was really surprised that Parks Department said that they are not doing (these memorials) anymore.”

A Parks spokesman stated that since the fall of 2001, it has been the agency’s policy not to advance local 9/11 memorials in deference to the memorial to all the victims at the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

“We understand the importance of recognizing the victims and the role that parks have traditionally played as places of remembrance, but it was felt that a unified response would be the most appropriate form of commemoration,” stated the spokesman. “Parks has received scores of requests to honor victims locally and in response we supported the creation of living memorial groves and gardens, and have planted trees in honor of the victims.”

Councilman James Vacca said he hopes that Parks takes another look at the proposal and gives consideration to the site.

“Many of our residents would like to have something in our community to remember 9/11,” said Vacca, adding “I think something here would be appropriate, and I have reached out to Parks (asking that they reconsider) and am waiting to hear back.”

The councilman also pointed out that there is an existing 9/11 memorial next to Engine 72 at East Tremont Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway.

There is also a memorial grove of trees in Ferry Point Park, but Lynch said that the one being proposed for Schneider Sampson Park will be the only local memorial to include actual steel from the original World Trade Center site.

The area at the site that would have commemorated the attacks was to have featured a four foot steel beam that had been at Ground Zero, said Mary Jane Musano, a Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association board member.

“Everyone was really excited about it” said Musano “I am just in shock that they would say no.”

The design for the memorial had even been completed, said Lynch, and it was to have included a monument with an image of the original World Trade Center carved in the stone, with tributes to both the civilian and unformed casualties of the attack on each side of the stone.

An alternate site for the location would be in Westchester Square, said Lynch, who is eager to have the piece of steel from the World Trade Center placed in a public space as a tribute to the fallen.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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