County will match up to $600,000 to complete Freedom Memorial

Naples Florida Weekly

In an effort to finish the Freedom Memorial on Golden Gate Parkway, Collier County commissioners have unanimously agreed to match donations of up to $600,000 to meet the Freedom Memorial Foundation’s fundraising goal of $1.2 million.

“This is a very important step forward for us,’’ says Naples Mayor John Sorey. “The commission’s vote affirms community support for the Freedom Memorial and should help assure donors that the job will finally get done.’’

A rendering of how the completed Freedom Memorial will looks as a cornerstone of Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park on Golden Gate Parkway.

A rendering of how the completed Freedom Memorial will looks as a cornerstone of Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park on Golden Gate Parkway.

Plans for the memorial began in 2004, and it was originally planned to occupy a space at the Collier County Government Center. It is intended to honor service people who died in combat and first responders to the World Trade Center and Pentagon during the 9/11 attacks.

Most of the money will contribute to the completion of a granite memorial envisioned in the original design. The granite, stone and water installation will be a 14-by- 40-foot American flag anchored on a base resembling the United States. Behind the memorial will be a reflection pool and three benches to represent the three attack sites on 9/11. The memorial will be a cornerstone of Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park, which is east of Goodlette-Frank Road at the northern end of the new Gordon River Greenway. The entire cost for the memorial is estimated to be $1.8 million.

The project broke ground in 2009 and encountered obstacles to its completion that have now been resolved, such as the recession and the inability to provide tax-deductible status to donors.

Park planners are asking for assistance to push the project toward completion. Members of the public can purchase engraved memorial pavers for $100 and $300, make donations to the Freedom Memorial Foundation or purchase tickets to the foundation’s “Remember, Respect, Honor — Forever!” event taking place Friday, Feb. 20, at the Hilton Naples. Tickets are $250 or $500. Guests will enjoy cocktail hour and dinner from Shula’s Steakhouse. Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will have their names engraved on plaques at the memorial; those who contribute $100,000 will receive the “Hero” designation.

For more information or to purchase tickets or make a donation, call 596-7959 or visit freedommemorialfoundationofnaples.com.

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