Cortlandt Closer to Funding 9/11 Memorial

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Janet Mainiero and James Rhodes met with  the Cortlandt Town Board to attempt to secure funding and move forward with the 9/11 memorial.
Janet Mainiero and James Rhodes met with the Cortlandt Town Board to attempt to secure funding and move forward with the 9/11 memorial. Photo Credit: Rick Pezzullo

CORTLANDT, N.Y. - It looks as if the majority of the Cortlandt Town Board will support funding for a 9/11 memorial in the Village of Croton, after all.

Following a sometimes-heated discussion with members of a task force that has been coordinating the "Reaching Through the Shadow" memorial to be built near the Hudson River at Croton Landing, the town is preparing to vote on an agreement by the end of the month with the villages of Croton and Buchanan that includes a $15,000 contribution.

Last week, the majority of the board declined to add a similar resolution to its voting agenda, saying it opposed using taxpayers' money for the 9/11 memorial that was originally proposed to be built entirely with private donations.

Croton has reportedly agreed to contribute $3,900 and Buchanan is expected to approve a $1,100 contribution at its July 2 meeting.

"I'm supportive of this project and of contributing taxpayers' money," said Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, who has consistently been a staunch supporter of the memorial. "Taxpayers put it in our hands when they elected us to make judgments. This one is a wise thing to do."

Councilman Frank Farrell, who wavered last week, said he had always supported Croton Landing for the project but had questions about the financing, which he blamed on "miscommunications."

"I one-hundred-percent support the project, and I admire the committee for the work it has done," Farrell said. "What has bothered me is some of the budget I have seen have numbers that don't seem realistic or make sense to me."

Project director Janet Mainiero and architect James Rhodes took exception during the meeting with Councilwoman Ann Lindau questioning fundraising efforts.

"This is getting rather painful," said Mainiero, who at one point implored the board to pass the agreement without contributing any funds so the project could move forward. "There is nothing secretive here. Nothing is being hidden here. It was always the three municipalities that were counted on. You supported us all along. If you don't sign the agreement, we'll have to take you off the project," she said.

"I don't want to wait one more year. The steel that was given reminds us of that painful day. I want to see that up and saluted," said Rhodes, who designed what is now being referred to as Phase One of the memorial. "There's nothing smelly going on here. We're burning ourselves out to try to get something done by September 11."

The cost of the project has decreased significantly due to free services being provided by a construction team. In addition, last week Puglisi received a commitment from the Operating Engineers that they would move an 18-ton boulder that is pivotal to the memorial, saving about $5,000.

At the end of the meeting, Lindau was the only board member who did not express full support for the funds, saying she would think about it. Council member Richard Becker was absent, as he was last week as well, preparing for his Democratic Congressional primary June 26.

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Comments (3)

We're all getting crazy these days because of dishonest, sneaky and sleazy politicians. Because of the rampant dishonesty and self serving crooks, no one trusts our elected officials and volunteers to be open and honest any more. I'm not suggesting we allow them to play loose and fancy with our money but I am paying tribute to the endless list of good people who have given freely of their time and energy to the betterment of our community. I would hate to see them discouraged and burned out in their community-minded efforts to make our hometowns better places. Let's not paint all public people and events with the same brush as we do the sleazy public offenders. What could be a more fitting and selfless project that the memorial to the heroes of 9/11. The joint efforts of 3 towns and villages with 3 separate attorneys overseeing the agreements are proof enough for me. It's time to move forward.

While this is a noble project and nobody opposes it, some questions arise regarding this group's finances.
Before Cortlandt, or Buchanan or Croton, gives this group any money, they should "follow the money". Originally a $200,000 project (all funded with private money), only $20,000 is available AFTER TWO YEARS of fundraising!!
This group should be transparent and open their books before any public funds are committed to this project, as they now want the municipalities to contribute $@20,000, or half of the costs of Phase One.
How much more taxpayer money will they need for Phase Two?
How much have they raised so far and what have been their expenses? Apparently they couldn't provide these figures at Monday's meeting. Taxpayers deserve, and should demand, this disclosure before our officials decide to hand over any funds.

if you have all the answers join the task force and help out instead of critizing and throwing out accusations.