Lakeside park space meant to be a quiet place of peace and reflection
Designs for a memorial honoring those who died in the attacks on 9/11 were approved March 2 by the Wayzata City Council.
The memorial will be located among a grove of nine birch trees in the recently completed lakeside plaza park, which is part of the city’s Panoway on Wayzata Bay initiative.
The initial inspiration for a 9/11 memorial in Wayzata dates back to 2011, around the time of the 10-year anniversary. The City of Wayzata was given several small pieces of the fallen World Trade Center buildings by the Aamoth family of Wayzata, whose 32-year-old son Gordy Aamoth Jr. died in the attacks.
In 2018, a group of community members asked that the city establish a memorial space near the corner of Superior Boulevard and Lake Street. From there, a committee was established to look into what a proper memorial might look like and where it should be located. The committee, led by Councilmember Alex Plechash, recommended that a 9/11 memorial be included in the plans for the Panoway project.
City Manager Jeffrey Dahl said the memorial is meant to serve as a quiet place of peace and reflection for people to think about the lives lost in the terrorist attacks while also acknowledging all persons impacted by the attacks.
The memorial design is a collaboration between Civitas, the Denver-based urban design and landscape architecture firm that developed the Panoway plans, and Peter Aamoth, an associate of Minneapolis-based James Dayton Design and the youngest brother of Gordy Aamoth Jr.
“This is something we took very seriously,” said Civitas Principal Scott Jordan. “We worked directly with the Aamoth family. ... They really wanted to create a place that was still about the lake experience, but you could take a moment to remember either Gordy or anybody that was impacted by the events of 9/11.”
The approved designs depict two 27-foot-long horizontal plinths meant to resemble the iconic silhouette cast by the Twin Towers on the New York City skyline. The granite plinths will also serve as benches for visitors. Several areas will have text and an enclosure will display the artifacts salvaged from the World Trade Center.
On the north monolith will be text that reads, “We will never forget their sacrifice, dedication and countless acts of bravery,” with smaller text reading, “We remember all who were injured or perished, all volunteers and first responders who united to answer the call, and those who were touched by the events of September 11, 2001.”
The south monolith will have the text, “Honoring victims, survivors and first responders,” with the smaller text, “In remembrance of Gordon McCannel Aamoth Jr., a beloved member of our community who perished on September 11, 2001 during the attack on the World Trade Center.”
Before the council’s unanimous vote to approve the designs, Mayor Johanna Mouton commended the design team and everyone involved in carrying the memorial project forward.
“This is so meaningful to us and to everyone,” the mayor said. “This was a momentous, tragic event in our history that we will carry with us and future generations will carry long after we’re gone.”
The memorial is planned to be completed later this year in time for the 20th anniversary on Sept. 11, 2021.
The Wayzata Conservancy, an independent nonprofit organization that was established to serve as an advocate and fundraising agency for the Panoway initiative, is continuing its work to raise money for the memorial. To learn more about the effort, visit wayzataconservancy.org/911mn.
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