2004-07-16 / Front Page

Work To Resume At Tribute Park

No Progress For Months Due To City Snag
By Brian Magoolaghan

Work To Resume At Tribute Park
No Progress For Months Due To City Snag


The weeds and grass on the Tribute Park site, which has been inactive recently, have grown several feet tall.The weeds and grass on the Tribute Park site, which has been inactive recently, have grown several feet tall.

By Brian Magoolaghan

Work was scheduled to resume at Tribute Park this week after a thorough redesign and a delay of more than two months - the result of an unexpected run-in with the city Art Commission.

"Everything is moved," said John Lepore, Chief planner and Chamber of Commerce President. This week, special helical screws, which will anchor the dome, are slated for installation.

Two formal meetings with the commission and numerous conferences led to drastic changes and the OK to go ahead: The firefighter tribute rock and the flagpole will be moved from the northeast side of the park, where they are now, to the southern end; the mosaic floor has been separated from the dome but will remain in the center of the park; the dome will no longer be in the center and will have a new floor made of marble from the World Trade Center, according to Lepore.

"I don't think the changes are that bad," Lepore told The Wave.

But the cessation of work at the site has caused problems. Artist Patrick Clark, a major contributor to the project, said that after a long break caused by the harsh winter weather he was looking to "break out of the gates" in June - that never happened. Instead, contractors who were either volunteering their time or working at discounted rates were told they couldn't proceed. They took up other projects and Clark now says a September 11 opening is impossible.

"It took a little time to get the contractors back," said Lepore who confessed that he initially cursed the commission. But the review process was not entirely bad for the park - Lepore called the commission members, who specialize in areas such as landscaping, lighting, design, installation, "top-notch."

"In retrospect, I think we have a better park," said Lepore, who has not ruled out a fall opening.


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