9/11 steel destined for Schuyler firehouse

Photo courtesy Borough of North Arlington
Photo courtesy Borough of North Arlington



It wasn’t unanimous but at least North Arlington now has selected a place to put its 9/11 memorial steel but is still unsure how much money it will need to do that.

Democrats Al Granell, Tom Zammatore and Mark Yampaglia were joined by Republican Dan Pronti in voting for the Schuyler Ave. firehouse site. Republicans Rich Hughes and Joseph Bianchi favored Zadroga Field, further south on Schuyler where there is an existing 9/11 memorial along a cyclone fence at the entrance to the property.

The council directed borough engineer Tom Lemanowicz to report back at the April 10 meeting with a cost estimate for installing the 12.5-foot-long section of steel recovered from the WTC ruins and gifted by the Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J. to the borough’s Volunteer Fire Department, which applied for it as a tribute to firefighters who lost their lives responding to the disaster.

Granell, the council president, told The Observer, “I’m happy that a location that serves to respect the first responders as well as the residents of North Arlington has been chosen. The 9/11 beam has been in the DPW [garage] for four years since it was first received. It will finally have a resting place viewing its original home and skyline. [It is] a location that does not put the residents at risk and one that will allow those who wish to visit the memorial unfettered access to the memorial.”

For Zammatore, the notion of putting the beam at Zadroga Field creates too many logistical problems: “the traffic, we’d have to reposition the fence, build a retaining wall, add room for parking. The fence should be left as it is.” At the Schuyler firehouse, he said, “there’s a beautiful plot of land on the east side of the parking lot where there’s room for people to park and congregate. There may be some landscaping added.”

A final design for the firefighters memorial has yet to be worked out, he added.

Granell said that since there is no money budgeted to pay for the installation, the borough would consider the possibility of applying to Home Depot for a “grant” program that provides a credit card entitling the cardholder to $5,000 worth of purchases that could be applied toward the installation.

In other business, the council:

• Heard tenants of the Canterbury Gardens apartments on Ridge Road gripe about issues involving plumbing, heating, vacant apartments, questionable work being done. Council instructed the borough administrator to coordinate a visit to the complex by the borough’s construction official and health officer to investigate and take appropriate action.

• Referred to Police Chief Louis Ghione a request by Richard Tarantula, leader of the 60-member Citizens Emergency Response Team, for a $10,000 stipend to help pay for items like reflective vests, coats, rain gear.

• Got a report from the borough engineer complaining about the allegedly poor quality of work by a contractor hired by the Passaic Valley Water Commission to patch up roadways after utility repairs that, he said, can hasten deterioration of the streets involved.

And Mayor Peter Massa swore in Michele Stirone as the new borough recreation director.

Stirone, a controller/property manager for an Elmwood Park consulting firm, is a cofounder/ director of the North Arlington Starz Cheerleading Competition Team. She has also served as advisor to the local girls’ cheerleading squad for five years and as Team Mother for the Junior Vikings football league for six years. Her son Christopher, 12, plays on local football, wrestling and baseball teams and her daughter Gianna, 9, plays softball and is a member of the borough’s recreational and competitive cheerleading teams.

– Ron Leir

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