CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. Construction began Monday on the Buchanan-Cortlandt-Croton 9/11 Remembrance Memorial, with a few central members of the project's task force on hand for the groundbreaking.
Janet Mainiero, project manager, said she felt "exuberant," watching a backhoe dig out the memorial's foundation, located at Croton Landing. The site is accessible only by walking from the nearest parking lot on Eliott Way in Croton's Senasqua Park, about a quarter-mile south.
The project was broken into two phases. The first phase includes reinforcement of the memorial's foundation and placement of an 18-ton boulder to bear the weight of a 1-ton, 14-foot-long twisted piece of steel from the World Trade Center's north tower. These elements, together with several bronze medallions, will create a sundial.
Phase one of the project cost was shared between the three municipalities and the memorial foundation, totaling $35,000 in cash with in-kind services donated by an anonymous contractor. Cortlandt donated $15,000 toward the project, Croton donated $3,900 and Buchanan donated $1,100. The donations were calculated based on the municipalities' populations.
"If everything falls into place as it's supposed to, phase one will be completed by 9/11," said Rocco Matronardi, a Croton resident and volunteer engineer on the project.
Matronardi said the schedule is tight, but that at least the rock and steel beam from the World Trade Center's north tower should be in place. He said he is hoping several bronze medallions depicting the events of the day will also be in place by Sept. 11. The 18-ton boulder should be in place by Monday, July 30.
The groundbreaking was low-key; only Mainiero, Mastronardi, architect James Rhodes and a few Croton village staff members were present. Mainiero said she expects the dedication also to be be a small affair.
Mainiero said fundraising for phase two of the project will continue after Sept. 11. Phase two includes a cast bronze statue of a woman reaching toward the steel, and a meditation garden. Phase two is expected to cost up to $45,000. Organizers of the project have posted a memorial video on YouTube, and donations may be made at their website.
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