CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Taxpayer dollars will fund the majority of the Buchanan-Cortlandt-Croton 9/11 Memorial at Croton Landing, after committee members said fundraising efforts had stalled.
The nonprofit committee is slated to receive a total of $20,000 from the two villages and the town. It will contribute $15,000 along with in-kind contractor and construction services. Cortlandt agreed to contribute $15,000 at a meeting Tuesday afternoon, with the stipulation that its portion will finish the project's first phase. Croton agreed to contribute $3,900 and Buchanan is expected to contribute $1,100.
"I am truly, truly happy," said project coordinator, Janet Mainiero. Mainiero has worked with the project since the 2009 acquisition of the 14-foot, 1-ton piece of steel that will be placed in the center of a sundial at the northernmost end of Croton Landing.
Mainiero said groundbreaking at the Croton Landing site could take place as soon as two weeks. The project is scheduled to take place in two phases. The first phase will construct the footing for the steel, relocate a boulder to place under the steel and cast commemorative medallions, for a cost of about $35,000, Mainiero said.
The second phase would cast in bronze a sculpture of a female figure that reaches out to touch the steel.
Not all members of the town board and Croton Village Board agreed with the taxpayer contribution. Before casting a dissenting vote, town board member Ann Lindau pointed out taxpayer dollars would provide a majority of the project's cash.
"This nonprofit committee is contributing $15,000, so we're paying for over half of it," she said. Croton Mayor Leo Wiegman argued that in-kind services were worth far more than the committee's cash contribution.
Village of Croton Trustee Greg Schmidt also took issue at the village’s June 18 meeting with what he said was initially pitched as a project that would be entirely funded by private donors.
"We were told and reassured no public money was to be used in the funding of this and here we are about to use public funds to continue this project," said Schmidt. "I think from day one, this thing, while a great idea, was really done backwards," he said.
Schmidt was the lone dissenting vote on the Croton Board of Trustees, which approved its contribution at the same meeting.