When Superstorm Sandy blew into town, it caused damage all over. One piece of the town hit hard was the 9/11 Memorial in Chatham Borough's Memorial Park.
"A branch fell on the lights and punched the lights out," Dan Smith of the Chatham Borough 9/11 Memorial Advisory Committee said. "Two of the cables supporting the doves broke, so we have to restring those."
The steel cables which held up the seven doves—one for each of the seven years that passed between the terrorist attacks and the year the memorial was built—were snapped back and forth over and over during the hurricane until they broke and the doves fell. The committee must restring those doves with new cable, and install new hardware to keep the cables in place.
There was also wind damage to the façade and the landscape, all of which, from the memorial's design to the construction to the plants in the garden, was done and is still maintained by volunteers and donations.
Smith said most of the clean-up of the memorial will be done by volunteers during the spring cleaning, over two or three weekends. Restringing the doves will be easy enough, but replacing the lights will be more difficult.
The ballast, which conducts the electrical current to the lights, was damaged by fallen branches. "They've been giving us problems, so we're just going to replace them all," Smith said.
The company which donated the original lights and ballasts, however, no longer distributes the models presently used in the memorial. They must all be replaced with new lights and ballasts.
"We're actually going to change it to an LED light because it's more efficient and would be most costly in the long run," Smith said, and they'll need an electrician to do the work. "The total cost will be about $1,400."
Usually the committee waits until August to start fundraising for the memorial, and continues their efforts until about a month after the anniversary of 9/11. But if the lights are going to be replaced before this year's observance and in concert with the other repairs from Sandy, the committee can't wait that long this year.
"People have been pretty generous in the past," Smith said. Residents have donated funds, have helped clear the memorial of debris and Coviello Bros., a Madison nursery owned by Chatham residents, donated flowers for the landscape and for the annual remembrance ceremony.
But, Smith said, the committee relies on volunteers to the Chatham Memorial Foundation to "help fund any repairs that have to be made that we can't handle."
Donations to the Chatham Memorial Foundation can be made through its Post Office box at:
Chatham Memorial Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 42
Chatham, NJ 07928-0042
The foundation is a registered 501(c)3 and donations are tax-deductible.