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As Sept. 11 anniversary nears, monument plans take shape

A conceptual design drawn by Wilder Architecture Inc. shows the city’s plans for a Sept. 11 memorial in the median near Bayshore and Bay to Bay boulevards. This fall will be the 10th anniversary of the attack.

City of Tampa Arts Program

A conceptual design drawn by Wilder Architecture Inc. shows the city’s plans for a Sept. 11 memorial in the median near Bayshore and Bay to Bay boulevards. This fall will be the 10th anniversary of the attack.

TAMPA — As the decade anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, somber reminders of the day will exist in at least two Tampa locations, with plans for a third next year.

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The city of Tampa's two pieces of wreckage from the World Trade Center are now housed in the Tampa Firefighters Museum. One will remain there, but officials hope to install the longer piece — an 8-foot beam — at a permanent memorial on Bayshore Boulevard by Sept. 11.

It will stand erect in the median, near the spot where the Bayshore Patriots regularly wave American flags, said Robin Nigh, who oversees arts programs for the city.

Wilder Architecture Inc. designed two hollow aluminum structures that are exactly 1/100th the size of the actual towers. The beam will stand in the north tower and act as a sundial.

Hillsborough County plans to follow with a memorial built around its own 13-foot-long beam, likely in either Heroes Plaza, near the St. Pete Times Forum, or Joe Chillura Courthouse Square, the park near the County Building.

That beam was given to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in May, and it's since been showcased at Brandon and Citrus Park malls. The agency initially considered displaying it at a sheriff's facility.

"But this really belongs to the entire community," Sheriff David Gee said.

The city hopes to have a monument completed by Sept. 9, and the Sheriff's Office plans to unveil an architect's rendering that day in Courthouse Square. That project would be completed in 2012.

As of Friday, the county was considering designs that display the beam horizontally and vertically. Some ideas include a reflection pond or fountain.

Heroes Plaza seemed like an appropriate choice, Gee said, because it was built to honor public servants who have died in the line of duty — and many victims of Sept. 11 were firefighters and law enforcement officers.

And a monument at Courthouse Square would be easily noticed, he said.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he'd like the exhibit to be in a space that allows the public the greatest opportunity to honor those who died.

Hillsborough Commissioner Mark Sharpe plans to broach the issue at an Aug. 17 board meeting and hopes to consider the public's wishes.

A price tag has not been set for either project.

The architect and contractor for the city's memorial have both donated their time, Nigh said. The city expects to pay for some materials, but she declined to give an estimate, saying she's hopeful she can continue to gather donations.

The county won't have a cost estimate until the design and location are selected, said J.D. Callaway, who's leading the project for the Sheriff's Office. But he expects it will be "in the tens of thousands."

So far, a Sheriff's Office charity has collected about $5,800 for the memorial and the agency hopes to raise the rest through private donations. Sharpe said the county anticipates paying for upkeep.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or

As Sept. 11 anniversary nears, monument plans take shape 08/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 11:09pm]
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