New York State will provide $125,000 in capital funding to rehabilitate Nassau County’s Sept. 11 memorial at Eisenhower Park, which has fallen into disrepair with broken tiles, peeling paint and rusted signage, Assemb. Charles Lavine said.
The memorial, which opened in 2007 and cost more than $2 million to build, honors the 344 Nassau residents (including former residents) who died in the terrorist attacks.
Weather and insufficient maintenance has taken its toll on the memorial, said Lavine (D-Glen Cove) at a Tuesday news conference at the memorial in East Meadow.
For example, marble tiles around the fountain, which surrounds two stainless-steel towers, have multiple cracks that allow water to seep in to the concrete below.
“For those of us who lost loved ones on September 11 this remarkable place is hallowed ground,” Lavine said. “Like many of us, I have been very disappointed that it has been permitted to fall into a state of disrepair.”
The county is planning an extensive restoration of the memorial, but officials said the state funds are not expected to cover the entire cost.
County officials say “substandard materials” used to build the memorial, which includes steel beams salvaged from the World Trade Center, along with the ravages of winter, are responsible for much of the deterioration.
Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said the monument’s developer, E & A Restoration of Syosset, has maintained the facility for the past decade under an agreement with the county. Nassau also has spent more than $500,000 in recent years to maintain the site, Nevin said.
The agreement “expires this year and the county is moving forward with a monument restoration project,” Nevin said.
A call to E & A Restoration was not returned.
Jay Winuk, whose brother, Glenn, a volunteer in the Jericho Fire Department who was killed in the attacks, said the disrepair is “upsetting.” But Winuk said he is optimistic the state funds will bring the memorial “back to where it should be.”
Lavine hopes the repairs are complete by this year’s Sept. 11 ceremony. But he said the county must “figure out a way to make sure this place stays restored because we don’t want to see this happen again.”
Newsday reported last month about the memorial’s deteriorating condition. The county has since replaced tiles and torn flags, power-washed the monument and removed rotted planters, Nevin said.
Problems persist. Parts of a chain-link fence around the memorial are gone; a county sign is rusted and floor tiles near the stage have separated from the foundation.