DECATUR – The Decatur 9/11 Memorial is a step closer to reality.
The committee working toward placing the memorial on the grassy knoll near the Beach House restaurant met on Wednesday to see the latest incarnation of the design and to discuss fundraising ideas.
Lauren Axe, company controller for Mueller Distributing, was the person who organized the effort to obtain and transport a piece of the Twin Towers to Decatur in October 2015 at the direction of Eric Mueller.
She presented the latest design: a pentagon-shaped base, with two steel towers rising 24 feet; the burned, twisted beam from New York inside of one and a new beam inside the other to represent hope for the future. The design of the openwork towers is flames rising up to become doves, and will be lit at night.
“(It symbolizes) from something bad, comes something good,” Axe said.
A lot of work and money still stands between that scaled-down model on the conference table at Wednesday's meeting and the actual memorial. The Decatur Park District owns the land and will have to get approval from the park board to allow the memorial to be placed there.
The Cost of the materials, lighting and building the memorial are estimated to be north of $200,000. The Community Foundation of Macon County has agreed to be the fiscal agent to hold donations and, if those amount to more than the cost, to keep any overage to be used for future maintenance.
One worry the committee members had was possible vandalism, but Wegi Stewart, director of the Community Foundation, said that has never been a problem with the World War II Memorial outside the Decatur Civic Center, and she doesn't anticipate it will be with this memorial, either.
“It's a popular place to walk at all hours of the day and night,” said Mike Irwin, president of the Free Runners Masonic Organization. Between the lighting and the constant presence of people, he said, he said Stewart was right. neuhoff
A Facebook page was started by Cromwell Radio Group, the Decatur 9/11 Memorial. At the moment, it's a brand new page and doesn't contain much information, but that will change as plans move forward.
Fundraising efforts should begin shortly, as the committee hopes to have the memorial in place in time for a dedication ceremony on Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City.