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Granite Pavers Donation To Enhance Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial



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With the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial budget running incredibly tight, some things had to be sacrificed. One such item was granite cobblestone pavers, intended to match the granite fountain.

The original estimates for the project, which had a $3.7 million budget, placed the granite pavers designed to ring the fountain area of the memorial at roughly $300,000. However, that feature was determined to be too expensive.

The Public Buildings & Site Commission (PBSC) at a September 28 meeting approved a $77,324 alternate for concrete pavers.

Tara Vincenta of Artemis Landscape Architects of Sandy Hook, the local design liaison for the memorial, felt the concrete pavers would not "do the project justice." She decided to reach out to a company that she had worked with on a number of occasions, O&G Industries, to see if something could be worked out.

"I thought it was worth reaching out so I sent an e-mail to a contact I had there," said Vincenta. "I wrote an e-mail and it went up the chain."

Vincenta noted that because the memorial is a public project, the town cannot take monetary donations. It can, however, take in-kind donations of materials and services. She said O&G offered to donate the granite pavers in mid-October.

"It was an extraordinarily generous donation," said Vincenta. "They weren't looking for recognition, they just wanted to do something for the community."

Even with the donation, the cost of installation will still be coming out of the project's budget, but that figure has not yet been finalized. At the PBSC meeting members estimated a donation of pavers could save the project as much as $50,000.

The pavers, which will match the fountain, will "really enhance the final project," Vincenta said.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal called the donation "exceedingly generous" and said some of the money saved not purchasing the concrete pavers may go back into the project for things such as plantings.

Work on the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial began on August 23 of this year and is expected to be finished before December 14, 2022, so that the memorial can open on the ten-year anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

The memorial will be located at 28 Riverside Road, which also is the base for Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue (NUSAR). The 28 Riverside Road property, long known as SAC Field, held a baseball and soccer field that was utilized by local youth leagues. The property was signed over to Newtown in 2017 by the Sandy Hook Boys’ Social and Athletic Club (SAC) trustees. The site is near the new Sandy Hook School.

The memorial plans include a welcome wall with a quote from then-President Obama and “sacred soil” created from some of the many thousands of items sent to the town in the wake of the tragedy at the entrance.

A path from the 24-car parking lot will be graded to be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant. Natural native plants, meadows, and pathways will allow visitors to interact with nature and take them to the reflecting pool, in the middle of which will be a tree planted in that same sacred soil.

While original plans designated a sycamore tree, the current plan calls for a Bloodgood London planetree. Vincenta said that there are two types of sycamore trees, the American and the Asian.

She said the Bloodgood London planetree is a hybrid of both. American Sycamore trees are highly susceptible to anthracnose disease, and commercial growers do not recommend planting them. The hybrid tree was chosen for its resilience to disease.

“We want to be sure that whatever tree gets planted will be healthy and sustainable,” Vincenta said.

The pathways will be packed gravel.

Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

Granite pavers that were initially part of the conceptual design for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial pictured in this computer rendering — were liminated from the plan because of budget restrictions. But they are now are back in the plan in the plan thanks to an in-kind donation from O&G. — Image courtesy CSWA
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