Time short to fund local Sept. 11 memorial
Only days away from a planned July 4 ground-breaking for the 9/11 Victims and Fallen Military Heroes Memorial at Patriots Park in Venice, Gene Sweeney of Salt of the Earth USA is making a final plea for support from local businesses and individuals.
“Please help make this 9/11 memorial in Venice a significant, permanent reminder to generations to come that they may never forget the sacrifice made on that day to preserve our country,” said Sweeney.
The construction cost was originally estimated at $68,000, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation pledged $34,000, contingent on the community raising the balance by July 4.
“Assuming companies involved in the construction can donate their labor, costs will be reduced substantially and we may only need about $10,000-$15,000,” said Mark Pritchett, executive vice president of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
The memorial will be built without taxpayer dollars; donations are tax-deductible.
Construction has a targeted completion period of 60 days, in time for a special dedication on Tuesday, Sept. 11, one year after a “verbal” ground-breaking ceremony attended by city and county representatives, military officials, relatives of those lost, friends and the public, on the 10th anniversary.
Sweeney was given an original steel beam from World Trade Center Tower One. It has been specially coated for preservation and is in storage at a steel fabricator. Permits have been approved by Sarasota County and the city of Venice.
The beam, about 12 feet tall, is the centerpiece of the memorial. It will be mounted on a 3-foot-tall, five-sided concrete plinth representing the Pentagon, standing on a concrete base surrounded with pavers, again in the shape of the Pentagon. The black granite surface of the plinth will be inscribed with the names of those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks and killed in combat since that date. Two spotlights will permanently illuminate the beam immediately behind the flag.
Family members who have lost loved ones in current or prior conflicts can have their names inscribed on the monument. Additional inscriptions can be put on the foundation, pavers, park benches and memorial plaques.
Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation office, 601 South Tamiami Trail, or made online at GulfCoastGives.org.
For more information, contact Sweeney at 941-388-8063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.