Juno Beach to vote on proposals for 9/11 memorial

By Michael Readling The Palm Beach Post

JUNO BEACH – There is no doubt certain parts of Florida attract winter visitors and retirees from distinct parts of the country.

Tampa is where New Yorkers tend to flock. Fort Myers has more than its share of New Englanders. Juno Beach, on the other hand, is decidedly mixed.

An unscientific study reveals license plates from all over North America. Breakfast at your favorite café will permeate with accents stretching from Canada to South Carolina, with a little Irish thrown in for fun.

That function as “world headquarters”, as mayor Mort Levine calls his town, was a major consideration when the Town Council decided to erect a 9/11 memorial in the center of town.

Juno Beach received two proposals from local artists for monuments to be built at “the point”, where Celestial Way meets Ocean Drive, and will conduct a vote on Wednesday.

That vote will result in one of the two proposals being selected or the council could follow the advisory committee’s recommendation and extend the deadline in order to attract more proposals, said Andrea Dobbins, project coordinator for Juno Beach. The original solicitation for proposals went out on Feb. 15 and had a deadline of March 15.

West Palm Beach’s Mark Fuller and Sue Lampert, from Jupiter, are the two artists with their projects submitted and will be waiting to hear what the council has to say. And, as expected, each has a slightly different idea for what should occupy the plot of land in front of the Juno Beach Town Hall.

Fuller, a New York native who was working on a project across from the World Trade Center on September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, said he tried to create something that would be a departure from the numerous 9/11 memorials that have been constructed worldwide.

“That day shook everybody up and made you ask questions. People didn’t have faith any more,” Fuller said. “What I wanted to do was, rather than something very somber, I wanted to create something a little more uplifting. I feel, almost 12 years later, that it is time for us to start healing. It’s impacted our lives in so many ways.”

Fuller’s proposal is a monolithic structure, with a heart cut through at the top and the silhouettes of four birds circling inside the heart. The support base is modeled after the iconic World Trade Center design.

“The bottom section has cut-through shapes that are actually details of that very distinctive pattern,” Fuller said. “The four birds represent the four planes that crashed and the heart is the compassion that we all have. There is a lot of symbolism behind it, but it doesn’t scream that it’s a sad memorial.”

Lampert took a more local approach and worked to integrate an existing art project that currently occupies part of the point where the 9/11 memorial will erected.

“What I came up with was a celestial sphere to try to tie into the Celestial Railroad and its history with Juno Beach,” Lampert said. “Basically, it’s a sphere being supported by three legs and the legs represent each of the event sites.”

The memorial site is circular in shape, including benches and a sitting area. Lampert said she planned landscaping that would enhance that circular design, using outward flowing designs to get them to “flow together.”

Perhaps key to her proposal is the central sphere which is made up of connected human figurines.

“The legs are supporting the sphere, uplifting of the sphere, which represents a lot of things to me. It’s about people coming together,” Lampert said. “The sphere represents our strength in unity and the global diversity of Juno Beach. It’s about the people from all over the world who live here.”

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