The Arroyo Grande City Council recently moved to approve the installation of a 9/11 First Responders Memorial construction at Fire Station 1 on Traffic Way.
The project was brought to the council in 2017 as a Public Arts Donation process, but was determined to be better off considered individually by the Council.
The venture is an Eagle Scout Community Service Project — a necessary step in becoming an Eagle Scout — for Central Coast New Tech High School freshman Zachary Hall.
Hall, 14, is a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 450 in Nipomo.
Hall said his main inspiration for choosing the project comes from the “Standing Tall” memorial installed in San Luis Obispo in 2015, which use 403 metal posts instead of tiles to represent the fallen first responders.
“I chose this project because the importance of this event on our nation’s history,” Hall stated during the council meeting. “It will be a place for people in this area to think back and remember the brave people who paid the ultimate price — running into a building and into danger.”
The project would be built into the existing hillside by the fire station office facing the post office across the street. It would be pentagon-shaped, and cut across fifteen feet along a curb that already exists in the current landscape. That curb will contain 411 patriotically colored red, white and blue tiles to represent the first responders who lost their lives in the tragic World Trade Center incident in 2001. There will be 344 red tiles for firefighters, 60 blue tiles for police officers and a remaining eight white tiles for EMT personnel and other first responders.
Inside the pentagon, the shape of the twin towers will be represented in porcelain on a slope and will be eleven feet long and eighteen inches wide, the same proportions as the representation in New York City.
The fire station will also donate a piece of steel from Ground Zero to the memorial, which will be anchored in concrete and surrounded by bricks matching the fire house and installed next to the flagpole. The pedestal will have an ADA-approved path leading to and around the installation to allow pedestrians and visitors to touch the steel and reflect on the past events it represents.
The estimated total cost for the project comes out to around $4,000, but Hall has already raised roughly seventy five to eighty percent of that money through donations from local businesses and professional organizations. Hall also held a Rubix Cube Competition event on April 21 of this year to raise money.
Hall plans to collaborate with Chief Steve Lieberman of the Five Cities Fire Authority in drafting a suitable construction schedule for the project. Other boy scouts from Hall’s troop will help with excavation, but he pans to bring in a professional contractor for more difficult parts of the build.
Hall hopes to have the project completed by the end of August so that he may dedicate the memorial on the iconic day it serves to memorialize — September 11th.
By Rachel Foote