BELLEVILLE — The city of Belleville and the Sept. 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois Committee will hold a remembrance ceremony Wednesday to honor victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The nonprofit committee also continues to fundraise to build a Sept. 11 memorial in Belleville.
Wednesday's memorial ceremony will be from 11:30 a.m. to noon at Firehouse No. 4 in Belleville, 1125 S. Illinois St., the site of the planned memorial walkway.
The event will feature a color guard, a brass ensemble and a steel column from one of the World Trade Center towers. The twisted, rusted column is 35-feet long and weighs 7,100 pounds.
For more information on the ceremony and the memorial, visit www.wtcmemorial.us or call the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce 233-6769.
The memorial, located on city property, has been designed to include a parking lot, welcome plaza and a Flight 93 Memorial. A walkway will lead visitors through a timeline of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and bring them to the Pentagon and World Trade Center Memorial, which will be in the shape of a pentagon and feature the steel column from the World Trade Center.
Sharon Strausbaugh, of the Memorial Walkway committee, said the group still needs about $50,000 before the project can break ground.
In January, the group had about $30,000 of its $100,000 goal -- all from private donations.
"What we'd really like to do is have the memorial built and dedicated Sept. 11, 2014," Strausbaugh said. "We feel like once we break ground and people see some progress on the front lawn of the firehouse, it will inspire them to donate."
The project has garnered support from a mix of individuals from Belleville and throughout southern Illinois, but now the committee is looking for corporate sponsorships, Strausbaugh said.
Corporate sponsorship packets are available and include a CD with a "virtual tour" of the proposed memorial.
"We want a lot of people to take ownership and support this," Strausbaugh said. "We want to see donations from communities all over. This is a memorial for all of southern Illinois."
The committee also has secured in-kind donations from construction companies and other volunteers willing to give time, labor and materials.
Once the project breaks ground, the memorial will take about three months to build, Strausbaugh said.
All donations are tax deductible since the Sept. 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois Committee is a subcommittee of the nonprofit Belleville Cultural Enrichment Organization. The nonprofit promotes art and cultural enrichment in Belleville and also encompasses the Gustave Koerner House Restoration Committee and the Belleville 200 Committee for the city's bicentennial in 2014.
The Memorial Walkway committee is selling engraved paving stones of various sizes and materials for $125, $250 and $500. There are also donorship tiers that range from $1,000 to $50,000.
Other fundraising efforts include a 5K Walk/Run on Sunday and an upcoming golf tournament in October where all proceeds go toward the memorial.
The golf tournament is set for Oct. 11 at The Orchards Golf Course in Belleville. Entry forms and fees of $80 per person or $320 per team are due Oct. 1 to the September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois, P.O. Box 7913, Belleville, IL 62222.