Wauconda allows World Trade Center beam in Sept. 11 memorial
A plan to build a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks cleared a major hurdle in Wauconda.
After a lengthy presentation and discussion Tuesday, village trustees unanimously approved an agreement to display a 20-foot-long beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center buildings.
The artifact is set to be the centerpiece of a circular memorial planned for village-owned land near the police station on Main Street south of Route 176.
According to preliminary design plans, the 13,000-pound relic would be displayed vertically on a pentagonal platform, representing the military building attacked by one of the hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001. Walls, benches and other elements also have been proposed.
The memorial's design was not up for a vote during Tuesday's meeting. That will come later.
The meeting was held at Wauconda High School because a larger-than-usual crowd was expected. About 50 people were in the audience.
A few spoke about the plan early in the meeting.
Ex-Village Clerk Mary Taylor asked several critical questions, including why the issue wasn't put to voters.
Resident Ed Sturtevant spoke passionately in favor of the memorial plan.
"This beam has a story to tell," he said. "It was there. I think we need to let it tell its story."
The artifact is owned by a foundation created by former Gurnee Trustee Kirk Morris, who is behind the memorial proposal. Morris' son, Geoffrey, was a Marine who died in Iraq in 2004.
Morris was among the speakers who talked to trustees about the plan. After the vote, he was congratulated by audience members.
"I've been working on this for a lot of years," Morris said. "I'm glad it got a good home."
The project's cost has been estimated at $81,650. Organizers need to raise money to pay for the effort.
Wauconda trustees discussed the proposal March 3 but delayed a vote to give the public more time to consider the plan and express their feelings.
Trustee John Barbini called the delay a "tough but courageous move."
Trustee Ken Arnswald said he received many emails from people about the proposal. The vast majority, he said, were positive.
Mayor Frank Bart, a military veteran, has been a leading proponent of the memorial plan. After the board's vote, he said he'd be happy to sign the agreement "on behalf of those who sacrificed so much, both on Sept. 11 and in the two subsequent wars."
Beams and debris from the World Trade Center are on public display in Mundelein, Algonquin, Carol Stream, Carpentersville, Des Plaines and other suburbs.