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Patchogue Village to build a second Sept. 11 memorial

Dennis Smith, left, special assistant for village projects,

Dennis Smith, left, special assistant for village projects, and Mayor Paul Pontieri on Tuesday check a field off Cedar Avenue that will become a 9/11 memorial. Credit: James Carbone

Patchogue officials plan to transform an empty lot on Cedar Avenue into a reflective Sept. 11 memorial overlooking the Great South Bay.

The project is to start next month.

The roughly $200,000 effort is being funded with money from a $5 million private donation given to the village for parks improvements a few years ago, officials said. Village officials have not disclosed the name of the donor.

“People needed a place to reflect, not only on 9/11, but in their own space and time,” said Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, who developed the idea for the monument. “I think in a space like this, overlooking the bay, there’s nothing better.”

While the village already has a Sept. 11 monument at Shorefront Park, a quarter-mile from the new site, officials say they are excited to create a much larger space to pay homage to those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks and the event itself.

Three area residents died in the attack in lower Manhattan: Eric Stahlman and Alfred Maler of Patchogue, who worked in the Twin Towers, and FDNY Lt. Michael Healey of East Patchogue, who as a first responder entered the buildings.

“What better way than a 9/11 memorial to recognize the day, and the three people that perished,” said Dennis Smith, special assistant for village projects. “It’s a beautiful setting overlooking the Great South Bay.”

A concrete circle with an American flag and four benches will make up the middle of the memorial, village officials said. The park will be fenced in and landscaped.

Smith called the park proposal “peaceful” and “serene.”

“This place calms you down and you’re able to put your thoughts together and think about what’s important in life, and basically that’s what this memorial is all about,” Smith said of choosing the waterfront location for the memorial.

Elements of the existing memorial, including the tall American flag display, are to be added to the new one.

A home on the site of the new memorial at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Maiden Lane had been demolished. It sustained severe flooding during superstorm Sandy in 2012, officials said.

The state took over the property through the post-Sandy New York Rising program after the homeowner accepted a buyout and moved, Smith said. The state then deeded the property to Patchogue with the condition that the vacant space be turned into a passive use such as a reflective park.

“As a community, we need to remember who we are; Patchogue is a community of families,” Pontieri said.

Construction is expected to start in June, and should take no longer than eight weeks to complete, officials said.

“By the end of July, we want to have this thing totally done and have it dedicated on 9/11,” Smith said.

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