Tonawanda News

March 12, 2014

memorial moving

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — In a municipality that has no shortage of military tributes, North Tonawanda will now move a planned 9/11 memorial to Brauer Park next to City Hall. 

The design for the memorial was created by two North Tonawanda High School students nearly two years ago, which will also be amended along with the original locale. The memorial was initially set for an area adjacent to the city’s fire department on Zimmerman Street. 

But the lack of foot traffic at the fire department as well as lighting and drainage issues caused city officials to second-guess the original plan, citing the setting of the park and the busier Payne Avenue as some of the reasons for the move. 

The project was designed by Michael Carroll and Mitchell Mistriner, now high school seniors, who won a contest for the memorial in 2012 among 67 submissions. 

The contest was created in 2011 after the city was selected to receive a 3-foot steel section of the World Trade Center, which will be incorporated into the design. The city was awarded the beam after competing with more than 2,000 municipalities and organization across the country and had planned to have a memorial in place last year. 

Yet due to a redesign of the students’ original blueprint and the challenge of coordinating contractors and architects who donated their time, the project had been delayed. 

Brauer Park is also home to a World War II memorial built in the early 1990s. Mayor Rob Ortt said the decision to change the memorial site was made “a couple of months ago.” 

“The whole project, in my opinion, has always been in flux,” he said. “We weren’t tied to the previous location. The area near City Hall is a more park-like setting. But it’s also more peaceful in some ways and it already houses another memorial.” 

Dale Marshall, city engineer, has worked with Mistriner and Carroll on changes to the design that initially included a water feature. However, he said, the difficulty of maintaining that feature and allowing those visiting the memorial to gain an up close look at the section of the Twin Towers, ultimately led to the amendment. 

The steel piece of the towers will sit atop one piece of solid granite 18-inches high and about six feet in diameter, formed in the shape of the Pentagon. It will also include two five-foot images of the Twin Towers etched from smoked glass. Lighting also will be added. 

“We’re going to have a high-end monument,” Marshall said. 

The monument will be erected on the northeast section of the park along Payne Avenue, joining another 9/11 memorial inside City Hall. Ortt said he would like to see it completed in time for a September tribute on the 13th anniversary of the attacks. 

“That’s my goal,” he said. “We’re in the home stretch.”