BOISE -- The opening of a 9/11 memorial plaza featuring actual material from the ruins of the World Trade Center has been delayed for a year. Organizers once hoped it would open on Tuesday, September 11th -- the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"I think it's important that we as a nation never forget what happened on that day," said Boise Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Tracy Raynor.
Raynor's first thought on the anniversary of September 11th was this: "Lost friends." He and others with the Idaho Fallen Firefighters Foundation are working to memorialize the fallen locally by working with the city to create a memorial.
"A large number of us had friends that we lost on 9/11 from FDNY, so in a way of trying to show tribute and letting people know that we would never forget," Raynor said. "When the Port Authority started talking about making pieces of the World Trade Center available, we felt that it was important that we tried to get one of those."
Their request was approved, and around eight months ago, a 10-and-a-half-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center arrived in Boise.
"We didn't do a whole lot of fanfare because we want to go through the process of the unveiling of when it becomes part of the new memorial down here," Raynor said.
The plan is to incorporate the piece into a new memorial in Riverside Park, next to the current Idaho Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park. Original plans had the memorial opening in 2012.
"We had high hopes that we would be able to be aggressive and do that, but it's more important to do it right than to do it fast," Karen Bubb, Boise Public Art Manager, said.
Part of the delay is money. Between city and fire department funding, organizers have $30,000 to work with, which is a modest, but doable, amount according to Bubb. Currently, the city is looking for new construction bids that fall at or under $27,000 (the amount left after paying a designer).
"The artists were paid for the design of it, but we have to bid for the construction of the entire plaza. The first time we put that out to bid, that came in too high. So we have to rebid that. Hopefully we'll get more competitors and more competitive bids," Bubb said.
Organizers believe September 11, 2013 is very realistic date for yhe unveiling, and say the result will be a memorial to last generations.
"It'll give us a place to come and to reflect and think back and remember, but also move forward," Raynor said.
The Fallen Firefighters Foundation was able to get the steel beam by applying to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Around 2,000 pieces have gone to families of victims and then organizations like fire departments and cities.