Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Connaughton Plaza Welcomes World Trade Center Steel Beams

Four steel beams from the World Trade Center are positioned on the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza where they await conservation and final installation as a memorial on the Ellipse at the Prince William county Government Complex.
In May 2011, the New York Port Authority in New York and New Jersey signed an agreement granting the County four pieces of steel that came from the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The beams were in storage at the Prince William Public Safety Academy before they made it to the plaza on Monday, June 24, 2013. 
Potomac District Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan has been involved in the project since 2011. In that same year, she and Prince William Chairman Corey A. Stewart, former Gainesville Supervisor John T. Stirrup, County Executive Melissa S. Peacor, County Attorney Angela Horan, and then Assistant Fire Chief Hadden Culp visited the Port Authority to see the beams before they were shipped to Prince William County.
“It’s been a long time in coming,” Caddigan said. “I’m sure it’ll be as emotional when they get them in as it was the day that we went through the Port Authority and when we had them delivered here two years ago. It was very, very emotional. You saw the twisted beams. You saw the fire trucks. Something just came over each and every one of us. It was a very emotional time. I’m really so pleased. The Board of Supervisors is pleased that we’re finally going to have it happen.”
Caddigan went on to say that the County would not have gotten the beams without Stirrup’s help.
“It wouldn’t have happened without him,” Caddigan said of Stirrup who was friends with a New Jersey legislator who helped him procure the beams for the County.  
Stirrup said he was “delighted" that things were moving along with the memorial.  "It’s fantastic news,” Stirrup said of the upcoming installation of the new memorial. “It complements the rest of the memorial site particularly with respect to the 22 county residents we lost on 9-11.”
Tom Bruun, Prince William County Public Works Director, said everyone is shooting to have the memorial designed built and finished by Sept. 11, 2013.
Many things have to come together in tandem to meet the deadline. 
Workers will prepare the beams for installation and, at the same time, design work and construction on the memorial proceeds. “The actual construction really shouldn’t take that long once you get the foundation in and the design done,” Bruun said. “It’s going to be tight, but we can do it.”
Neabsco District Supervisor John D. Jenkins said Prince William County was an “appropriate” place for a 9-11 memorial made of beams from the World Trade Center. “We had several people from Prince William County working in the Pentagon and also some in the World Trade Center. Just to remember those people is one thing, but this is a national monument that we’re going to create,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s a really great tribute to the first responders. I think this is a tribute to the fallen heroes and it’s very appropriate for Prince William County. We have so many relatives of people who were killed in this tragic incident. It’s a very appropriate monument for them.”
Raymond Zuspan, who was on the team from Environmental Services who helped place the beams on the plaza Monday, agreed with Jenkins. “I think it’s fitting for the county,” he said.
Fritz Korzendorfer, another of the team members who helped move the beams that weigh a total of 60,000 pounds to the plaza, said he was pleased to be a part of the event. “I think it’s probably a good thing that they are creating a monument,” he said.
Brendon Hanafin, the County’s Historic preservation Division Chief, was pleased with the beam transfer that came off without a hitch. “Everything went the way [we] wanted it to go,” he said. 
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