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Site approved for 9/11 memorial

H.B. City Council also decides not to change development impact fee schedule or future location of senior center.

March 20, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio

The 9/11 memorial may have found its home in the Huntington Beach Civic Center after council members approved the location Monday night.

Other viable locations were addressed, such as Pier Plaza and the corner of Utica Avenue and Main Street.

But in a unanimous 7-0 vote, council members decided the non-operational fountain in between the civic building and the police station was the ideal spot to build the memorial.

"I have developed the ultimate respect for Huntington Beach Police and the Fire Department," Councilman Dave Sullivan said, explaining his more than 20 year-relationship with public safety officials in the city. "I have no doubt that the firemen and policemen of this city, if we had a similar situation, would react in exactly the same manner as those in New York did."

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Designed by Patrick Vogel, the 19-foot-tall sculpture will include the towers and two I-beam sections of the World Trade Center donated by the Police Officers' Foundation and the Huntington Beach Firefighters' Assn. It will also include a waterfall that flows between the two towers.

"That day moved me and it moved me tremendously," Vogel said. "I sat and watched the two planes crash into the [World Trade Center] towers as I was changing my oldest son's diaper. That day, I did nothing. I watched the television like a lot of other people. I just couldn't believe what I saw."

Dennis Hashin, the chief financial officer of the Police Officers' Association, urged council members to go with the fountain location, pointing out the lack of use of the fountain itself.

"The fountain itself is broken, unpainted and a collection point of debris and trash," he said. "It certainly does nothing to honor the gift of the Anjo lantern that the fountain was designed to do. In fact, it is rather a disgrace. It shows disrespect toward our sister city."

Other alternatives were brought up during the discussion. The amphitheater outside the council chambers was an option council members could have taken, but public speakers that night were opposed to that location.

"If it's down in the bowl, it's not something that they will see consistently," said Dianne Thompson, chair of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the 9/11 Memorial Fundraising Committee. "If it's up in the fountain area, it will be seen consistently. We need to make certain that all the future generations understand that there's a bridge from Huntington Beach back to New York."

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