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Web only 9/11 Memorial model

This model, presented to the Decatur Park District board on Wednesday, shows the design for the Decatur 9/11 Memorial. 

DECATUR – The Decatur 9/11 Memorial, featuring a steel I-beam salvaged from the Twin Towers, has likely found its future home in Nelson Park.

The Decatur Park District Board of Commissioners expressed support Wednesday for a plan to place the structure near the waterfront of Lake Decatur, adjacent to the small beach area near the Beach House restaurant.

“I want it to happen, whatever it takes,” board President Bob Brilley II said after the meeting. “I'm really excited about it.”

Volunteers behind the project described their plans to the board, which is expected to vote formally on the proposal at its next meeting.

The beam first came to Decatur in October 2015. The effort to bring it to the city was led by individuals from the George A. Mueller Beer Co., and volunteers from other areas of the community have stepped up to help.

The design from Chastain & Associates will feature a pentagon-shaped base with two steel towers rising 20 feet into the air. Each outline of a tower will surround a piece of steel: one 13-foot burned, warped piece taken from the towers, and one that is pristine and shiny. The design also incorporates outlines of metal flames which take the shape of doves as they rise.

“We remember with the old beam, we rebuild with the new beam and we become stronger,” said Lauren Axe, controller for George A. Mueller Beer Co.

Visitors to the memorial would be able to reach in and touch the beam, and to see a portion of filing cabinet that has melded with it.

The biggest hurdle now is fundraising for the effort. About $15,000 has been raised so far, and Axe said there is some $235,000 to go.

The goal for completing the project is Sept. 11, 2017.

The Community Foundation of Macon County is the fiscal agent that will collect donations for the creation and maintenance of the piece. Donations can be made by visiting the foundation's website,, and specifying that the money is for the Decatur 9/11 Memorial.

“We need to get the word out,” Axe said. “There's been an amazing response from the people, once they hear about it.”

Some progress toward that goal should be made this weekend, as Axe said the memorial would be represented in the last float of the Decatur Celebration parade on Saturday.

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Regional Editor

Regional editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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