September 30, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Township approves design for planned Sept. 11 memorial

ELYRIA TWP. — The design of the township’s moving 9/11 memorial, which will incorporate a fragment of steel that once was part of a box beam from the World Trade Center, was designed by a Elyria Township native who now lives in New York City and witnessed the attacks.

Of the four designs submitted, Gary Fujka’s design was unanimously chosen.

“It was the nicest design of the four that incorporated everything we wanted the memorial to represent, said Trustee Rob Scheithauer.

The most prominent component of the monument is a piece of metal from the fallen building that measures approximately 18 inches by 18 inches and weighs just over 200 pounds. It was sought from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by township Firefighter Tim Midkiff, who felt compelled to have a local memorial to the 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters and paramedics killed Sept. 11, 2001.

The memorial will have an engraved bronze plaque that reads, “This memorial is dedicated to the brave responders and innocent victims who lost their lives during the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

Along with the steel piece, Fujka, who witnessed the second World Trade Center Tower being hit and watched as both towers collapsed, also collected dust from the massive debris site that will be encased in the monument.

Fujka, of Fujka Design, grew up on Griswold Road, graduating from Elyria West High School in 1977.

Douh Skladan, head of the 9/11 memorial committee, said it was important to remember all of the victims of the tragic events, not just firefighters or first responders.

“It’s really an honor to have an artifact. Only 1,500 pieces of structural steel from the World Trade Centers were released to organizations across the country for memorials,” Skladan said. “We are happy to have the steel piece and believe this will be a community memorial that all, even those who live outside of Elyria Township, can enjoy.”

A tentative timetable has been set with the hopes of having the memorial completed before winter, but it will be contingent on fundraising, Skladan said. Early estimates have the memorial’s cost at roughly $30,000.

A fundraising campaign will commence in the near future. The project will be funded solely by donations from residents, businesses and organizations.

The memorial will be on township-owned property just south of the Ohio Turnpike on Murray Ridge Road.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.