• Kirkland rejects plan to put 9/11 memorial in park

    By: David Ham


    KIRKLAND, Wash. - Kirkland city leaders were in favor of putting a bronze 9/11 memorial called the "Spirit of Washington" in Juanita Beach Park, until they asked citizens about it in an online survey.

    "People can be kind of mean if they don’t like something, so people made disparaging comments about the sculpture," said Deputy Mayor Penny Sweet.

    She said out of 600 people surveyed, about 80% said they did not want the statue.

    Resident Maureen Baskin found out about the Spirit of America Foundation based in Stevens County and thought it would be a good idea to apply to bring the statue to Kirkland.

    "It was about people that inspire us and the good that came out of it, so for people to squash it and make it seem like it's something bad, I just really have a hard time relating to that," said Baskin.

    City leaders originally agreed to pay about $13,500 to buy the statue and install it.

    The nonprofit foundation said it costs about $35,000, but most of the money was raised through donations. A city would only pay for about $6,500 in foundry costs.

    Many of the people who didn't want the statute complained about the cost of it and the placement.

    Some said it would be depressing in the middle of a city park.

    Others said that 9/11 happened too far away from Washington state.

    "I’m disappointed of course in the people that don’t look at the bigger picture," said Baskin.

    "Even though I'm surprised at the results, the results are what they are." Sweet added, "It would be silly for us to move forward if we asked the people if they want it and they said no."

    The statue is housed in Stevens County right now.

    The Spirit of America Foundation said six other cities in Eastern Washington are interested in housing the piece.

    "Well maybe we weren't there. It may be 3,000 miles away, but you feel this and all of a sudden you feel connected.  You realize this was an American thing that happened," said Baskin.

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