2003-05-02 / Front Page

Tribute Park ‘On Fast Track’

By Brian Magoolaghan
Tribute Park 'On Fast Track' By Brian Magoolaghan

Tribute Park 'On Fast Track'
By Brian Magoolaghan


Patrick Clark, left, holds up one of the rocks while sitting on the Tribute Park's revetment line with Liz Sulik, center, and Kevin Callaghan, right.Patrick Clark, left, holds up one of the rocks while sitting on the Tribute Park's revetment line with Liz Sulik, center, and Kevin Callaghan, right.

Despite a newly installed rock barrier between the park and Jamaica Bay, much of Tribute Park's design is not set in stone. The September 11 completion date seems firm, however.

The long line of rocks, part of the parkland's shoreline reconstruction, raised several questions among those working closely on the project, at a recent impromptu meeting.

Now that the barrier has been set, the process of fitting the memorial inside the bay-front land allotted for the park, and watching it come to life, has begun.

The need for an unobstructed view from the park toward the site of the former World Trade Center (WTC) balanced against possible barriers to that view was discussed by Rockaway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Sulik, a major Tribute Park coordinator, and memorial designer Patrick Clark. They talked about planting beach grass in the crevices between the rocks, and the installation of a low fence on the park side of the rock line, to keep visitors off.

Clark expressed his wish for unobstructed views of the water and Manhattan, but Sulik said a fence might be necessary for insurance purposes. The exposed rock, which appears easy to trip on, could become an "expensive nuisance" she said.

Both agreed the goal is to "maximize the appreciation of the memorial," and the natural environment to the park's northwest.

"We're going to do the best possible things we can do here, but we have to follow some rules," Sulik said.

Other new design elements discussed about were the possibility of a fishing pier, telescope or pay-style binoculars, and the incorporation of actual WTC debris in to the memorial. Sulik said that to realize Tribute Park's complete potential, additional grants, beyond the near $500,000 already secured, would be needed. Meanwhile, she said, donations and brick sales are helping.

The park will continue to receive improvement, but will not appear unfinished when it opens on September 11, Sulik said.

As for the ambitious undertaking of building a full-scale tribute ground in just half a year, she said with assurance, "The park is on a major fast-track now."


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