Committee, City Sign Agreement for Newton 9/11 Memorial Construction

By Melanie Graham Newton Patch

The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee is hoping for a groundbreaking date of September 11, 2012.

An aerial view of Sangiolo’s proposed design for the Newton 9/11 memorial. Mark Sangiolo

A memorial that will honor Newton 9/11 victims has taken another big step forward.

According to a press release issued last week by the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee, the city and committee have signed an agreement that finalized the siting, installation and landscaping for the Newton 9/11 Memorial.

Mayor Setti Warren, Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee Chair Sande Young, Newton Fire Chief Bruce Proia and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis signed the agreement on July 26.

Now that the papers are signed, the committee is aiming for a September 11, 2012 groundbreaking, the press release said.

The memorial, which honors eight Newton residents killed in the attacks, could be finished as early as November.

In a radio interview with Talk 1200 host Jeff Katz Monday morning, Newton 9-11 Committee Director of Fundraising Ginny Gardner said she was “speechless” at the thought of everything coming together.

“I can’t believe it…this is going to happen in the next six weeks,” Gardner told Katz.

Not long after the agreement was signed, the committee selected Newton landscaper Phil Mastroianni Corp. to build the memorial, which will be located in front of the Newton Fire Headquarters in Newton Centre.

Along with “perennial grasses, spring bulbs and flowers,” the memorial will include several elements representing the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the flight path of United Airlines Flight 93. A piece of steel from the World Trade Center will also be incorporated into the design.

“I am thrilled that we have steel from the Towers, a beautiful design, a supportive city, and now, a first-rate builder,” Young said in the press release. “If you knew how many generous, talented, and tenacious people were involved in getting us this far, you would be amazed.”

As the process moves forward, the committee is continuing to raise money for the maintenance of the memorial. An ongoing engraved brick program allows residents to purchase and customize a brick that will be included in the memorial walkway.

The full press release from the Newton9-11 Memorial Committee is below:

On July 26th, the City of Newton and the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee executed an agreement for the siting, installation, and landscaping of the Newton 9-11 Memorial, which will honor the eight Newton residents killed by terrorists on September 11th, 2001. The contract, signed by Mayor Setti Warren, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis, Fire Chief Bruce Proia, and Committee Chairman Sande Young, is a major milestone for the memorial; the Committee can now plan the memorial’s groundbreaking for this coming
September 11th.

Shortly after the contract was signed, the Committee chose Phil Mastroianni Corp. of Newton to build the memorial. Mr. Mastroianni is a Newton native whose tree and landscape business has operated here since 1976. His firm will prepare the site in front of Newton Fire Headquarters on Centre Street and install the pavers, benches, and pedestals of the outdoor room, bordered by perennial grasses, spring bulbs, and flowers. A small piece of World Trade Center steel has been donated by Newton resident Ellen Meyers to be included in the room.

Young first conceived of a tribute to those Newton lost when she read in March 2011 about a memorial built by Acton for its two 9-11 victims. She began assembling a committee in April and meeting with city officials. Fifteen months, countless conferences, and dozens of fundraisers later, the efforts of her committee are paying off.

All monies raised for the memorial have been private contributions. They range from coins collected in cans at Cabot’s Ice Cream to large donations from local businesses and residents. Young said that the Committee must, however, continue fundraising to ensure the proper yearly maintenance of the memorial. An ongoing funding source is the memorial brick program, whose bricks will pave the walkway leading from the Centre Street sidewalk up to the memorial.

“Our program provides a brick for $100 with up to 60 engraved characters that you customize,” explained Virginia Gardner, Director of Fundraising for the Committee. “The bricks, which have been a great fundraising tool for us, give residents and businesses a permanent part of this important city memorial.”

The Committee hopes that a groundbreaking will inspire more donations as residents see the memorial come to life. Depending in part on New England weather, the project could be finished by this November.

The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation founded by Newton residents to raise money for the creation and permanent maintenance of a memorial to the Newton residents and others who died on September 11th. For more information about the Committee, its memorial design, and ways to donate, please visit www.Newton9-11.org.

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