Green Bay in limbo over plans for new 9/11 memorial

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) – As the country prepares to observe September 11 this year, Green Bay is missing a permanent memorial.

The city’s original memorial was built in 2005 at the Neville Museum. It overlooked the Fox River and had two tall, slim towers at the top of the memorial. There were names of Wisconsinites who were killed on that tragic day at the base of the structure. Next to the names of those who lost their lives is a steel beam from the Twin Towers adorned with the American flag and red flowers.

The City council decided to take the memorial down due to deterioration and inaccurate information.

The display was cracked, and some of the names were not visible.

“It got to a point where city leaders said this is not a fitting memorial for what happened on 9/11,” says Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.

On September 11, 2017, there was a decommissioning ceremony and the steel beam from the Twin Towers was removed from the memorial.

There is a piece of the original memorial temporarily on display inside the Green Bay Police Station. A steel I-beam from one of the Twin Towers in New York City faces the front door of the lobby. Above it is a sign that reads, “the display will reside here from the time of the decommissioning of the 911 memorial until a permanent home and display can be determined.”

Chief Smith says the exhibit doesn’t garner as much attention as the original memorial at the Neville Museum, but it does serve as a piece of history for people to come and observe.

It could be years before a permanent 9/11 memorial in Green Bay is built.

“The idea in the long term is that we’re going to be building a new public safety building. We’re going to put a special place in that building for the beam,” said Chief Smith.

Laura Schley, Public Arts Coordinator for the City of Green Bay, says public art is very dependent on its location, so there aren’t any concrete plans for a new design right now.

“I definitely think we’re looking to go in a different direction compared to what the initial memorial was. It’s something that we want to be a little more interactive for people because everyone was affected by that day. We’ve talked about maybe doing more experiential memorials, like a meditative display with more ground pieces,” says Schley.

For now, people looking to visit a 9/11 memorial in Green Bay can see a temporary memorial inside of the Green Bay Police Department until their new public safety building is built.

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