Plans are proceeding for Sept. 11 memorial in Belleville
You might not have heard a lot lately about the proposed Sept. 11 memorial in Belleville, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening.
Belleville Director of Tourism Cathleen Lindauer says the Sept. 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois will be monumental. (No pun intended.) She and the committee working on the memorial want to reach out to all the people of the region.
The walkway will be located at 1125 S. Illinois St., the site of a fire station and administration headquarters of the Belleville Fire Department.
A committee of about 20 people designed the memorial around a piece of the World Trade Center. They want to tell the whole story of the tragic day in American history including the airplane attacks on the twin World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93, Lindauer said.
"We received such a large piece," she said. "We want a monument to match its grandeur."
Right now the memorial is in the fund-raising stage complete with a plan to sell engraved paving stones. Pavers are available at $125, $250 and $500 levels, depending on size and material.
"We hope to get $100,000 before turning dirt to begin the project," Lindauer said. "We're at around $30,000. We have been raising money for about a year."
The committee doesn't have a total budget cost for the project, and is expecting some donated labor and materials.
The wait is frustrating but the organizing group has a plan that involves a lot of donated material, time and labor.
"We have many offers of donated work from companies and labor unions," she said. "But we want to be able to pay part of the costs and materials when the groups start work. We need to have that in hand before we turn any dirt.
"Everyone wants to move forward faster. But when we get to the first phase, I think everything will really fall into place and go faster."
The idea of getting the memorial building piece came from a former Belleville woman, Linda Weisenstein, who now lives in St. Louis. She saw something about it in the New York Times. She pushed the city to get involved so Belleville was on the forefront of places receiving a memorial piece of the World Trade Center.
The twisted beam, 36 feet long, weighing 7,100 pounds, from one of the towers (they still don't know which one) was first shown off during the September 2011 Labor Day Parade. It is in storage until it can be displayed, hopefully sometime in 2014, Lindauer said.
Lindauer has been making presentations about the memorial to civic groups and organizations. On Tuesday, she spoke to the Belleville Chamber of Commerce. She said the presentation is about 30 minutes and is available to any interested group.
Early donations have come from companies, civic groups and individuals.
"The first donation was a student at Althoff who collected at the high school. He had a check for $200," she said.
You can see more about the memorial at its web site: www.wtcmemorial.us. You also can make tax-deductible donations on the site or call the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce at 233-2015.