By Courtney Dentch
The renovated John F. Kennedy International Airport could be the site of a memorial honoring the 37 Port Authority police officers lost in the World Trade Center attacks.
The Columbia Association of U.S. Customs and Affiliated Federal Agencies Inc. is working to create a permanent memorial at the airport, said Phil Maddalena, the group’s chairman.
About $100,000 will be needed to establish the monument, Maddalena estimated. The group began its drive with a fund-raiser buffet at Russo’s on the Bay Friday.
He said the event went well with almost 400 people attending at $100 per person, although an exact count had not been made.
“It went terrific,” he said. “It was a huge success.”
The memorial is still in the early planning stages, but the association hopes it will be able to build it in Terminal Four at JFK.
“What we’re trying to do is make it something people will look forward to seeing when they come into the airport,” Maddalena said, “something they’ll want to have their picture taken next to.”
The group is discussing the project with a sculptor from Italy, who is willing to design a tribute such as this and prepared to work at no cost, Maddalena said.
Even though the plans are not set yet, the group hopes to include the names and photographs of the Port Authority police officers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The association has been talking with JFK management as well as the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Association to plan the memorial, Maddalena said. It is also planning a golf tournament in October if the group needs to raise more money for the project, he said.
Maddalena is eager to complete the project, however, but he and his group are willing to be patient.
“We have to find out where the Port Authority will let us put it,” Maddalena said. “Even though it’s their people, they still need to approve it. But we have time for that.”