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Council declines to go forward with bid for 9/11 sculpture following survey results

City of Kirkland - Contributed Art
City of Kirkland
— image credit: Contributed Art

The Kirkland City Council declined to move forward with a bid for a 9/11 memorial sculpture at their June 17 meeting after citizen proponent withdrew their support.

The city survey results were fairly lopsided, with approximately 83 percent of respondents in the survey voting no when asked if they supported the city's purchase of the sculpture. When asked if they supported the city commissioning or purchasing public art commemorating 9/11, 79 percent voted no, and 74 percent voted no when asked if they supported a memorial in Kirkland commemorating 9/11.

Respondents provided a variety of reasons for rejecting the proposal, which included the proposed location, Juanita Beach, a place they felt was not appropriate for the sculpture. Some respondents also felt that the art should be purchased privately.

During its May 20 meeting, the Council voted unanimously to approve a bid for the Spirit of America 9/11 Memorial Sculpture, which would have cost roughly $13,500 to acquire the sculpture and have it installed.

The Kirkland Cultural Arts Commission first considered the idea in April after being informed by a resident, and they eventually recommended it to the Parks Board. Several members of the KCAC, however, questioned whether Kirkland was the appropriate location for the sculpture, as the 9/11 attacks occurred in New York. During its May 14 meeting, the Parks Board voted unanimously to recommend the proposed site of the sculpture it to the City Council.

The idea to purchase the sculpture was originally proposed to the arts commission by Kirkland resident Maureen Baskin, who withdrew her proposal following the results of the city survey. After she withdrew her support the city was taken out of the bidding process. An additional vote was needed to reapply.

The sculpture was created using debris from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It has four people, a firefighter, a soldier, a female office worker and a flight attendant holding hands around a piece of steel taken from the 60th floor of the World Trade Center and a piece of limestone from the fifth floor of the Pentagon.

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