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Easton's Sept. 11 Memorial Architect Steps Down

EASTON, Conn. — A volunteer who designed Easton's Sept. 11 memorial has taken his drawings and resigned from the position after differences of opinion with the building committee.

Mark Halstead, who volunteered as the architect for the project, wrote a letter dated Aug. 8 to Emil Martin, Easton's building official. The letter says a member of the building committee changed structural details to the anchoring of the pergola structure, which Halstead says would cause a safety hazard. He says the committee is no longer authorized to use his drawings.

"Both the contractor and myself felt it represented difficulties in construction," said Andy Kachele, a member of the Sept. 11 Building Committee, referring to the anchoring of the pergola. "It's too bad. Mark did very nice work. I wish he hadn't taken the action that he did." He said the project is proceeding "full steam ahead."

"The memorial is bigger than any of us individually," said Kachele.

The stonework, including the walls and benches, do not require architectural drawings, he said, and a "competent woodworker" could design a pergola for the memorial. Money still needs to be raised for the pergola.

After the stonework is completed, the building committee will evaluate whether the pergola is still a positive addition or "too much," said Kachele. Beverlee Dacey, chair of the Building Committee, said a public hearing will be held so Easton residents can weigh in. She said there may be three options for residents to choose: Leaving the memorial as is once the stone work is completed; replacing the two pear trees with kousa dogwoods; or replacing the pear trees with kousa dogwoods and putting up a pergola.

Granite blocks are scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning, Kachele said. Dacey said the project most likely will not be completed before Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. She said the stone work should take three to four weeks and the landscaping, benches and side pole are estimated to take six to eight weeks.

The Easton 9/11 Memorial will honor the Hanson family , who lost their son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Should the pergola be included in the town's Sept. 11 memorial?

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