Dedication of the park is set for Noon on September 11, 2010 at the corner of Main and Center Streets in Old Hilliard. Mayor Don Schonhardt said he thinks the park dedication is an important family event for Hilliard.
"Especially for our younger citizens, I think it's important to communicate the full meaning of what happened to our nation on September 11, 2001," he said. "While it is an important history lesson, it is also a lesson about real American heroes and the grit, willingness and determination of first responders to put their lives at risk to save the lives of others."
Schonhardt said Hilliard's First Responders Park is unique in several aspects, not the least of which is the display of several pieces of steel from the collapsed twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. Officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made more than six tons of WTC steel available to the City of Hilliard expressly for use in First Responders Park.
Three granite walls will represent the three sites of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed Americans not only at the World Trade Center but at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and aboard a terrorist-commandeered Unite Airlines flight that crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA. Engraved in the granite is the names of the nearly 2,800 Americans who died as a result of the terrorist attacks, including 366 first responders from the New York fire and police departments, and 37 officers from the Port Authority.
Yet another feature of the park will be a sculpture designed by a local artist, a reflecting pool and a plaza fountain with polished stones in its basin.
Schonhardt said Hilliard citizens can be part of the dedication by purchasing a brick paver that can be engraved as a memorial for a loved one or to honor someone special in their lives. The pavers cost $75 for a 4-inch by 8-inch paver and a larger 8-inch by 8-inch paver is available for $150. Cost of laser engraving is included in those costs.
Schonhardt said the $1.9 million park will be the largest memorial of its kind in the Midwest. "I think it is important to remember not only those gave their lives, but to honor all the men and women who risk their lives for us every day, 365 days a year," he said.