Officials in Salem, Virginia, think the local fire station may be the best place for the 9/11 memorial that was donated to the city. The memorial, which consists of two steel beams taken from the World Trade Center’s North Tower, has had its share of controversy in recent months.
A committee of six is considering several places for the memorial. Council members agree the fire station, which is in the downtown area, seems like the most appropriate location for it.
During a work session, four council members supported relocating the memorial to the fire department’s property. Mayor Randy Foley was absent from the work session and council meeting, The Roanoke Times reports.
“With the fire department, police department and what went on in New York, that’s an ideal place,” said Vice Mayor John Givens. “That’s where my vote goes.”
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The memorial was donated to the city following a controversy. It once stood on the property of Old Virginia Brick, a brick manufacturing company started in 1890, according to the company's Facebook page. The company was considering filing for bankruptcy in April following a seven-year decline in demand for bricks, reports WDBJ7.
The company wanted to auction off the memorial and donate the proceeds to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation. But, following reports about the auction, the attorneys and bank creditors in charge of liquidating the company’s assets decided to include the memorial as part of the auction for the company's building and real estate.
Motley Asset Disposition Group, the company in charge of liquidating the company, asked attorneys whether it would be possible to donate the memorial because the proceeds would have gone to the charity. Mark Motley, the company’s president, spoke with Joe Daniels, the president and CEO of the 9/11 memorial foundation, and credits the communication for motivating him to try to have the memorial donated.
Daniels wrote to Motley that steel remnants recovered from the Word Trade Center have been “historically protected, not sold.” Citizens agreed it would be unscrupulous for Old Virginia Brick to sell the memorial.
Residents thought the structure should stay in Salem and City Manager Kevin Boggess agrees. He put together the committee to evaluate possible locations, The Roanoke Times reports.
Motley Asset Disposition Group has since donated the memorial to the city. It wants it removed from the Old Virginia Brick’s former property before the sale is complete.
The city is considering three other locations besides the fire department, but many feel the fire department is the most appropriate. Boggess indicated that the somber memorial may not be a good fit in places that are intended for entertainment and amusement. “When you’re looking at four of these locations, three involve recreation,” said City Councilwoman Lisa Garst.
The City Council agreed to welcome the new memorial with a 9/11 ceremony on the 14th anniversary of the attacks. The date will also kick off Olde Salem Days.
The city is relying on in-kind donations to move the structure and build a new base.
Photo Credit: Screenshot via WDBJ7