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Funds Being Raised For Permanent 9/11 Memorial In Springfield Park

A rendering shows the view at night of the 9/11 memorial planned in Riverfront Park in Springfield, Ma.
Spirit of Springfield

A 10-year project to put a permanent 9/11 memorial in Springfield, Massachusetts has entered a new phase – raising the money to make it a reality.

A campaign has been launched to raise $300,000 to cover the installation and annual maintenance for Springfield’s September 11th monument that will include a piece of steel from the destroyed World Trade Center and is intended to be a dynamic tribute to the first responders who died in the terrorist attack.

With donations from more than two dozen corporations already secured, the campaign is more than halfway toward the goal according to real estate developer Frank Colaccino, who is the chairman of the fundraising committee.

" I am confident we will raise it," said Colaccino.

So confident of success, Colaccino revealed the contract to build the monument has already be signed.  

"There are a lot of people on our committee from the business community and we are just making phone calls telling people about the memorial and the response has just been great," Colaccino said.

A GoFundMe page has been created for the fundraising campaign. The contributions are tax-deductible.

The design for the monument, which was unveiled in 2016, has the 12-foot-long, 3,000 pound steel beam artifact positioned vertically in front of a curved wall that will be inscribed with the 470 names of the firemen, police officers and military personnel killed in the attack.  At night, spotlights place shadows of the beam on the wall to symbolize the Twin Towers.

A location for the monument has been chosen in Riverfront Park at a spot that is easy to get to and highly visible, according to Pat Sullivan, the city parks director.

"It will have the beautiful Connecticut River as a backdrop and it is a very peaceful tranquil location for this memorial," Sullivan said.

Riverfront Park is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation. As part of the project, the base for the monument will be built in what amounts to a $50,000 contribution from the city.

" We wanted to pay our respect to these first responders and this is the best way the city can contribute," said Sullivan

The 9/11 artifact has been in storage since 2011 when it was obtained by Spirit of Springfield through a donation program of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Judy Matt, the organization’s president, said dozens of locations were considered as possible sites for the monument.

" We are very pleased it will have a final resting place as it deserves," said Matt.  She said people have been critical about the time the project has taken, but Matt said it was important to find the right design and the right place for the memorial.

 Matt said plans are in the works to dedicate the monument at this year’s September 11th observance.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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