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North Hempstead to get 2 WTC steel beams

Two steel beams recovered from the World Trade Center are headed to North Hempstead, a town that lost nearly 60 of its residents in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The town board authorized the acquisition of the pieces from the Port Authority at its regular meeting Thursday.

One is a nearly 10,000-pound piece recovered from the towers' parking garage. It is 19 feet long, 41/2 feet wide, and 3 feet tall. It dwarfs the other piece, which is 62 pounds, 2 feet long, a foot wide and a half-foot tall.

Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman said the acquisition "is really a tribute to the endurance of our community, a reminder of who we are, and a poignant reminder of those who perished."

Kaiman said similar structures are harbored at several town fire departments. Officials said they've been trying for years to secure the pieces. Kaiman and Town Clerk Leslie Gross credited an intensified effort in the last year.

"There are thousands of applications for these types of pieces, there's only so much they can do in a given amount of time," Kaiman said of the Port Authority.

Gross said she hopes the lighter piece is transferred in time for the 12th anniversary of the attacks, to be commemorated at Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson. She said it could be placed on display at Town Hall in Manhasset in the future.

Gross said the larger beam, which might take longer to arrive, might require an outdoor location, such as North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington.

"Wherever we put it, it will become an iconic symbol of the town and that day and of the people we lost," Gross said. "You can't look past something that's 19 feet tall. You can't miss it."

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