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Laguna to Receive Trade Center Girders for Public Art

Another example of a girder memorial donated in 2003 by residents of Pearl River and Valley Cottage, N.Y.

Laguna Beach will receive two steel girder pieces weighing 612 lbs. each and measuring 72 x 36 x 12 inches for use in a public memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the Arts Commission learned this past Monday.

“I am currently making arrangements to have the pieces shipped to Laguna,” said the city’s arts manager, Sîan Poeschl. “One of the challenges is finding a shipping company that meets all requirements,” she said, which includes that the pieces are transported alone as “dedicated cargo.” Valuation is also challenging since the pieces are historical artifacts.

The commission hopes to complete the monument by Sept. 11 of this year, the 10th anniversary of the attack.

Poeschl said that she is close to finding a shipping company and that the NY Port Authority will notify her when the pieces will be released for shipping.

Last November, Laguna Beach Fire Dept. Capt. Andrew Hill applied to the New York Port Authority for a remnant of the steel girders from the World Trade Center towers to build a public memorial in Laguna Beach. The agency had received more than 900 applications from communities eager to use the girders for similar memorials.

The Arts Commission was directed by the City Council to work with the fire department to come up with proposals for the public art element, but nothing has been worked out yet, said Poeschl.

Many details remain undecided, such as whether to limit the competition to local artists, design guidelines, honorariums and a choice of location. “The beams are going to be the focal point of the work; they must remain intact (as received) and be integrated into the overall monument,” said Poeschl.

The City Council of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., last month approved an artist design for a memorial integrating a World Trade Center girder, similar to one Laguna is expected to receive.

No public money will be used to finance the project, which will be funded by a private donor. Laguna Beach resident and arts patron Mark Porterfield had previously committed to financing shipping and has now stepped up to defray further costs, said Poeschl.

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