BALLSTON SPA – It has been more than 15 years since that unforgettable day in September 2001, when the lives of thousands were lost or irrevocably altered by the unimaginable hatred and violence of others.
During the days and weeks that followed, the people of Ballston Spa honored and paid tribute to the fallen, one of whom was a brother of a village resident. Now, locals and community leaders are seeking donations so they can move forward with plans to construct a permanent monument to honor those individuals on Front Street.
Last summer Peter Champagne of the Ballston Spa Rotary Club sent a letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey requesting a section of steel from the world Trade Center to be used as part of a memorial park to be built in the village.
Shortly after, he received the extraordinary news that the last two remaining artifacts from the World Trade Center tragedy, two sections of steel rail from the PATH train running beneath the towers, had been awarded to the Village of Ballston Spa.
On the recommendation of the 9/11 Memorial Committee, the Village Board of Trustees approved a site on village-owned land adjacent to the Village Office. The Ballston Spa Rotary developed plans for the park and, with the help of people like the Rossi family, Ross Blacktop and Brick Paving, D’Agostino Building Block, Lance Evans Memorials and many others, most of the materials needed for the project are being donated.
A lot of behind-the-scene efforts took place to get the project to the point where it is presently. Gina Rossi Marozzi, who is on the executive board of the fallen-fighter memorial group MacBoston 18 Truck, was instrumental in getting the 12-foot steel rails transported here from New York. She arranged to borrow a large pickup truck and trailer so a group of volunteers could drive to JFK International Airport Hangar 17, where artifacts from the tragedy were stored.
“The entire trip – the fuel, tolls, the meals for the volunteers – were all paid for by Frank and Rose Marie Rossi,” said Marozzi, adding, “If it wasn’t for Pete Champagne approaching the mayor, none of this would have ever happened.”
Champagne was quick to give credit to Mayor John Romano, the 9/11 Memorial Committee and to the other generous donors.
“D’Agostino Block is donating all the stone and the Rossi family is doing all the work, at no cost, on the perimeters and the pavers,” he said.
Champagne also mentioned that Bill Strong, of Bill Strong Welding is doing all the welding work for the supports that will secure the PATH rails in place.
Champagne said two granite stone monuments, which symbolize the fallen towers, were donated by Lance Evans Memorials. One will be engraved “In Memoriam,” and the other will be a tribute to the many people, businesses and organizations who helped make the Memorial Park possible.
The artistic rendering of the plan shows the base of the memorial in the shape of the Pentagon and the committee is considering including the Pennsylvania insignia, denoting the Keystone State on the path, possibly in a different colored stone.
There is still a lot of work to do to meet the projected completion date and open the Memorial Park on Sept. 11, 2017, with a ceremony and open house. Champagne, who is a past president of the Ballston Spa Rotary, said they have already made a good start with their fund-raising efforts, but more is needed to reach their goal of $6,000.
Those interested in donating t the effort can make contributions payable to: The 911 Memorial of Ballston Spa, Inc., PO Box 444, Ballston Spa, NY 12020
Log in below to comment and make sure to follow The Ballston Journal Online on Facebook.