2005-04-15 / Community

Work On Tribute Park Ready To Roll

By Brian Magoolaghan

The Tribute Park site as it appears this week. The metal storage container has bricks and light fixtures for the project inside.The Tribute Park site as it appears this week. The metal storage container has bricks and light fixtures for the project inside.

  • The Tribute Park site is days away from becoming an active work zone and the project, which turned out to be a big can of worms for planners, will be open by September 11, 2005, according to Chamber of Commerce President John Lepore.
  • “For the first time in the life of this project everything has come together,” Lepore told The Wave this week. “We will not tolerate anything that will take us beyond that date.”

    And Lepore is not the only one confident enough to say the project is ready to roll. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., who secured $20,000 to make changes the City Arts Commission insisted on, recently described the project as having “a real green light” to move ahead. Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska, at the monthly board meeting this week, said the red tape that tied up progress for months at a time is gone.

    Project Coordinator Dan Mundy, who as an environmental activist gained experience working with government agencies and with permit procedure, worked all winter to prepare for the spring, when favorable weather means work can begin, said Lepore. Mundy has “nailed down every loose end” and has put together the construction schedule, which Lepore called “the sequence of the dance.”

    The park’s infrastructure, including the irrigation system, footings and bases, will be installed by July 1, according to Lepore. The Parks Department will come in after that date to complete cement work and to install the commemorative bricks. Artist Patrick Clark, who has pre-fabricated the park’s glass dome and tile floor, will have the month of August to assemble those key elements on-site.

    Clark will also finish the firefighter’s tribute – a helmet carved in stone with the names of every New York City firefighter who died on September 11, 2001. The original artist, Izobella Slobodoff, died last summer at age 70.

    Lepore said that “cushion time” has been figured into the construction schedule. Mundy, who met with representatives of the Department of Parks and Recreation this week, was unavailable to comment because he is taking a short break before everything gears up.

    Lepore acknowledged that the long periods without noticeable activity at the site have been disconcerting to many members of the community who made financial contributions to the park, but said satisfaction will soon be in store.

    “It’s a small park, but I think people are going to be proud of it,” he said.

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