Poughkeepsie’s 9/11 memorial nears completion

Abbott Brant, Poughkeepsie Journal 

With the tentative Aug. 15 completion deadline fast approaching, the coordinator of the City of Poughkeepsie’s 9/11 memorial plaza said plans are on schedule.

From left, Tomas Marcial, 60, and Jimmy Floyd, 67, lay bricks for Poughkeepsie City Hall's September 11th memorial on Tuesday.  (Photo: Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal)

From left, Tomas Marcial, 60, and Jimmy Floyd, 67, lay bricks for Poughkeepsie City Hall’s September 11th memorial on Tuesday.  (Photo: Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal)

“We are laying the pavement and bricks down, and doing the landscaping,” said Randy Ross, the coordinator and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Poughkeepsie. “We have made a lot of progress.”

The memorial, located on Civic Center Plaza outside of city offices, is intended to allow visitors to reflect on the day of September 11, 2001 and on those from Dutchess County who lost their lives, Ross said. He also hopes it will encourage residents to look toward the future of the downtown area and the city’s approaching renewal.

The goal was to finish the plaza by Aug.15, and to hold an opening ceremony in September on the 14th anniversary of 9/11. As of now, those plans still stand, Ross said.

The focus piece of the park will be the two beams from the World Trade Center, which the Kiwanis club received from the New York Port Authority. Two cement benches surround the beams, and a reader’s wall will surround that, Ross said. Flowers, trees, paved bricking and a new sidewalk will add aesthetic to the new area.

One maple tree in particular will honor fallen City of Poughkeepise firefighter Tim Gunther.

“During the ceremony, we will have a member of the firefighters union speak about the tree and Mr. Gunther,” Ross said.

But according to Ross, Aug. 15 will not entirely mark the end of the three-year project.

Additional features will include bird houses, as well as picnic tables to provide outdoor seating for lunch breaks. In the future, Ross hopes to connect the memorial to the new art district and waterfront via shuttle, so that everyone can experience the plaza.

“There’s going to be two or three phases,” he said. “We want to continue to add on and to get the community to contribute.”

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