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Easton's 9/11 Memorial Stirs Controversy

EASTON, Conn. – The start of site work and the arrival of the granite for Easton’s Sept. 11 memorial has sparked controversy in town.

The comments on a recent Daily Easton article started with “Bookmark,” who wrote: “The memorial does not belong in front of the library as per the town plan. The supporters lied to people about the petition they circulated. There are already memorials to the Hansons in Easton, but they had to have one more and throw it in our faces.”

Bookmark stated in another post that the supporters intimidated “people outside of the voting booth to sign petitions; spread lies about the reasons for signing the petitions; shouted and swore at members of P&Z; provided email addresses for our town officials to people around the country and spread lies about the positions of our town officials so they could be harassed by people around the country.”

Betty56 responded, “There were no conspiracies, no lies, no voting intimidation — just the facts, read directly from the master plan. If the majority of town wants it there, so shall it be — that's called democracy. Why are you so angry? It's a memorial for God's sake. … I'm tired of hearing all this nasty criticism. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary — it's time to let it go and let this memorial stand in peace and enrich our town. It's going to be a beautiful spot for all to enjoy.”

Easton appointed the 9/11 Memorial Building Committee in August 2007. Peter Hanson and his wife, Sue, and their daughter, Christine Lee died on Sept. 11. Peter's parents, Lee and Eunice Hanson, live in Easton.

In December 2008, the Planning & Zoning Commission issued a letter that says, the “Library Green should remain an open landscaped place and that it would be inappropriate to erect any structures in this special place, however worthy the proposed memorial.”

The 9/11 Memorial Building Committee filed a petition, which went to a town meeting in January 2010 after many meetings with the Easton Board of Selectmen. At the special town meeting, residents voted in favor of the library location, 188-140, and overturned the P&Z’s decision.

TheGuy20 stated, “This memorial was so poorly planned. I guess the 'higher ups' finally realized we are coming up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 so we better RUSH to install it. And it seriously took 10 years to get a memorial? Westport had one several years ago completed!”

The 9/11 Memorial Building Committee minutes from July 29 say there is $37,000 in the memorial’s account, all from fundraising. A flagpole was ordered at a cost not to exceed $13,000. The architect for the project, Mark Halstead, abandoned his position and took his drawings with him Aug. 8.

"Folks seem to think there is some 'full-speed ahead' effort to meet the 10th anniversary, which is not true. Only after receiving town approval could we begin fundraising. As you know that approval took YEARS! The construction schedule was predicated on our ability to raise sufficient funds to begin construction," Beverlee Dacey, chairman of the building committee, said in an email to The Daily Easton.

Where do you think the memorial should have been built? What do you think about the allegations in the readers' comments? Leave your response in the box below.

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