By HEATHER NELLIS
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- If you're driving along Route 30 tonight and Thursday, keep your eyes peeled in the vicinity of the Recovery Sports Grill.
After it's dropped off by Montgomery County Department of Public Works Commissioner Paul Clayburn and Florida Veterans Park Commission Chairman Dan Wilson, a 5,000-pound piece of steel from the second tower of the World Trade Center will be on display in front of the restaurant before being permanently moved to the Florida Veterans Park Friday.
County Executive Matthew Ossenfort approved the town's request to drive the county's flat bed equipment to New York City today to pick up the steel at JFK airport hangar 17, where 9/11 artifacts are stored, and drive it back.
"Since the executive gave us permission to go pick it up, we want to share it with the whole county," Wilson said. "The town is a little more isolated, and we want everyone to be able to see it."
Clayburn and Wilson were scheduled to make the trip at 4 a.m. today, and were expected back 12 hours later.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Wilson said of the trip.
The steel will be left at Route 30 for a day on the flat bed equipment, which will be adorned with a banner reminding passing motorists to "never forget" the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that leveled the Twin Towers.
Wilson requested a piece of the steel by submitting an application to the New York/New Jersey Port Authority. It was approved in October.
The town was matched with piece N-130, also known as C-18.
"It does have provenance in the towers: Three columns, bottom two-thirds from World Trade Center 2. Column 230, floors 93-96," wrote Jared Pilosio of the port authority in correspondence with Wilson.
The dimensions for the piece are 348 feet by 72 feet by 48 feet, with an estimated weight of 4,690 pounds.
"It is a three-column window section made up of three vertical square-beams and three horizontal spandrels. Obviously, the beams have been somewhat twisted due to collapse and recovery process," Pilosio said.
The beam will be moved Friday to the town's veterans park, next to the town hall at 214 Fort Hunter Road.
It will be a welcome addition just in time for the town's annual Memorial Day ceremony scheduled Sunday at 7 p.m.
The timeline park, which is roughly 50 percent complete, features a concrete walkway, which starts with recognition of the French and Indian War, and will eventually progress through 2001 for the Afghanistan War and 2003 for the Iraq War.
Wilson said the World Trade Center steel will be placed in the area for the latter.
Eventually, the steel will be incorporated into a memorial. Wilson said given the sacrifice of the New York City firefighters during the tragedy, the committee intends to work with the town's fire department and retired iron worker Al Staley to fabricate and erect the memorial in the next few months.
"I want the fire department to take the lead to give them a little glory," Wilson said.
For now, the beam will be supported on wooden posts and will be available for viewing as early as Friday.