Two years after officials received two steel beams recovered from the World Trade Center, one of the pieces has found a home at North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset.
A committee of relatives who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, selected the site to dedicate the 62-pound, 2-foot-high beam that was donated by the Port Authority in July 2013. The committee is still deliberating where to place the second, which is much larger at 10,000 pounds, 19 feet long and 3 feet tall.
The smaller beam is to be unveiled Friday in a glass case supported by a wood structure in the building's upstairs lobby. The legs of the structure, narrow and rectangular, were constructed to resemble the shape of the Twin Towers.
Lee Ferron, a carpenter who works for the town, designed the structure over two days in August. Ferron, who is 40 and lives in Laurelton, Queens, is a labor supervisor who has worked for the town for nine years. Among a number of tasks, he and his employees assemble and fix cabinets and desks.
For this project, Ferron put a little pressure on himself. After all, the beam would honor those who died that day.
"Better make it right," he recalled thinking.
"It was just a great assignment to put together something very special, on a special day," Ferron said. "It's an emotional project, but it's a great project."
Steel recovered from the Twin Towers has made its way to municipalities across the country and overseas, as well as to other Long Island communities.
Ferron said he decided on the shape after he saw a photograph of the World Trade Center.
"Putting things together, I saw a picture and just wanted to build something similar, something that represents the towers," he said.
For the second and larger beam, the town's committee is still working to find an appropriate site. The challenge is picking the right spot in a town with 31 villages, dozens of unincorporated hamlets, and where the losses suffered on 9/11 were spread out across the town.
Members of the committee are from Williston Park, Port Washington, Great Neck, Albertson and Manhasset. Several of the members correspond through email or by phone, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.
"It's getting a little harder to have meetings, because some people have moved," she said.
A leading contender for the second memorial is North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington. The town has plans to revitalize the park, remove school buses that are stored there, and add a restaurant to the 34-acre space. Another site under consideration is Manhasset Valley Park, off busy Northern Boulevard. Bosworth said there were issues with the soil and too many trucks pass by it.
"It's commercial," Bosworth said. The aim is for a memorial to "be someplace that would have the serenity, be in an environment where one could sit and meditate," she said. "The sense is somewhere on the beach."
The Town Hall monument will be unveiled after an 8:30 a.m. ceremony Friday at Mary Jane Davies Park, across the street from Town Hall.
THE LARGER BEAM:
19 feet long and 3 feet high
Weight: 5 tons
THE SMALLER BEAM:
2 feet high and 1 foot wide
Weight: 62 lbs.
Location: Town Hall in Manhasset
Lives lost from North Hempstead on Sept. 11, 2001: 56
SOURCE: TOWN OF NORTH HEMPSTEAD