Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Politicians broke a sweat in Downtown Miami Thursday but for good reason; the grand opening of 1814 Brickell Park.
The park, years in the making, has many modern amenities but it’s draw today was its centerpiece: a steel beam pulled from the debris of the World Trade Center.
“It’s pretty impressive. I live next door so it kind of gave me chills,” Brickell resident Linda Medici said as she looked at it.
The large beam is one of many donated around the country to establish memorials. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s decision to place it at the foot of Brickell is not a coincidence.
“This is our financial capital. They attacked the financial capital of America. We have to be strong and rigorous in defending our financial capital,” Sarnoff said.
French artist Christian Bernard dreamed up this design of rebuilding around the beam. It was his way of showing America rising back up.
“(The) French give Statue of Liberty to America. And me I give, modestly, monument for Miami,” Bernard explained. Plaques with poems from a sixth grader are attached to the walls.
The monument will be a place for South Florida to reflect on the thousands who died.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who visited the World Trade Center in the days following the collapse was touched by the monument.
“To me this monument is very elegant because of it’s simplicity. It’s a monument that will last for generations,” Gimenez said.
Which is exactly what downtown developer Tibor Hollo wanted. He contributed a quarter million dollars to the nearly $4 million dollar park.
Today he pledged to help build another park.
“I want to keep giving back. I’ve been here a lifetime. I’ve labored here for almost 60 years. I want to give back,” Hollo said.
1814 will not only be a reflection of September 11th but Miami’s history.
Architects had to alter the park’s design after Indian remains were found below. With the blessing of the Miccosukee Indian tribe the city built on top of the graves.
While the World Trade Center monument took all the attention today this is actually very monumental for Brickell. This is the first park some estimate in 40 or 50 years for the area.
The park is now open at 18th and Brickell.