Written by Rebecca Green and featured in NorthJersey.com.
MIDLAND PARK — Last May, volunteer firefighters and Department of Public Works employees retrieved a 2,800-pound steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center from New York and gave it a temporary berth in the fire house on Witte Drive.
The site of the planned memorial.
Now volunteers are planning to move it again — to a more fitting setting, front and center in a new borough memorial.
And it is expected to be officially unveiled as its cornerstone come the next anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Mark Milidantri of Jacobsen Landscaping — a neighbor of the fire house — has voluntarily designed what will be the final resting place of the 80-inch beam, in an area in front of the Witte Drive building. It will join another historical relic — a gong that once alerted volunteers about emergencies — and three trees planted in honor of fallen firefighters.
The borough lost one resident in the terrorist attacks: Joseph Roberto, who is remembered on a plaque at the Church of the Nativity, where he was a parishioner.
According to the plans, the beam would be propped 8-10 feet off the ground, surrounded by grass and a 45-foot circle with three benches and a flag pole.
There would be wheelchair access, as well.
At a Borough Council meeting in February, Mayor Patrick "Bud" O'Hagan said he was gratified about how the community was working together to bring the memorial to fruition.
"We're really getting a great deal of support for this from our businesses," he said.
Fire Chief Mark Berninger said eight to 10 landscapers have volunteered to construct the site in July and August, when their season slows.