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Group wants to place 10,000-pound piece of World Trade Center at Lawrence Visitors Center
It is still pretty mysterious at the moment, but an effort is underway to make Lawrence the home of a remnant of the World Trade Center, whichfell as part of the 9/11 attacks.
The Lawrence-based American Fallen Warrior Memorial — more on that group and questions about it in a moment — has filed a request with City Hall to locate an approximately 10,000-pound piece of the World Trade Center in front of the Union Pacific Depot/Lawrence Visitors Center in North Lawrence.
Tonya Evans, the CEO and Founder of the American Fallen Warrior Memorial organization, declined to provide details about the project when I got in touch with her recently. Instead, she said there would be a significant announcement about it on Monday.
At one point, the group's Web site had some information about the art piece, which is being called the Star11 Anchor Artifact. But the web page was removed after I inquired to the city about the group's application to house the piece in Lawrence.
But if you know how to search the Web in certain ways, most web pages that are removed from a site aren't really removed from the eyes of Google.
The photo below is a screen shot from the removed Web page showing the Star11 artifact. What's unclear is whether that is in its finished form or simply in the process of being completed. The artist is Sandra Priest, and she's done at least one other piece of art from concrete saved from the World Trade Center site. It is a more polished and stylized version that is in Bethlehem, Pa.
According to information on the Web page, the Star11 piece comes from the World Trade Center's foundation. For those of you who understand construction, the piece is slurry wall concrete that was used to support the towers. According to the Fallen Warrior's Web page, the slurry wall "is the only piece of the trade center area that actually was left standing from the original site after 9/11."
Priest acquired the large blocks of concrete as they were being removed from the World Trade Center site to make way for the PATH subway hub in New York City.
As for its future in Lawrence, according to the information on file with the city, the Fallen Warrior Memorial group has an interest in displaying the artifact on the depot grounds for two to three years.
The more permanent plan is for the piece to be housed at a major Fallen Warrior Memorial that the group hopes to build in Kansas City, Kan. The memorial plans include a 130-foot-tall structure that would support a giant American flag. Also included are memorial walls to recognize fallen servicemen and women. The group's Facebook page has a good rendering of what it hopes the site will look like. When the site was announced last year, there was talk of a 2014 groundbreaking, but I'm not sure that is still an accurate timeline. There also was talk during last year's announcement that the memorial would be about a $30 million project. I'm also unsure about the status of any fundraising success the group has had.
Almost as interesting as the memorial, is the fact that the group trying to put all this together is based in Lawrence. The group was involved in a lawsuit with another Texas-based organization that also was planning to build some sort of fallen warrior memorial. That lawsuit has been settled. A Feb. 25, 2012 article in The Kansas City Star raises questions about the group's memorial plan and its feasibility. (Note: The link takes you to a third party site. We weren't able to find a way to link to the article on The Star's site, but did confirm that the article was written by the newspaper.)
It looks like the group would like the art piece to arrive in Lawrence in September, according to the group's Web site. According to the site, the piece will leave from Florida and make stops at several cities along the way.
The city's Cultural Arts Commission is scheduled to discuss the request at its Aug. 14 meeting.