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The State

Tijuana Plans 80-Foot Tower to Honor 9/11 Victims

Artwork: Construction on the project begins Monday and is scheduled to be completed by the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

June 14, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Civic boosters in the Mexican border city of Tijuana plan to start construction next week on a soaring stainless steel sculpture to commemorate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Backers of the project see it as a way to memorialize the more than 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks while improving the image of the gritty border city best known as a base for drug traffickers and as a party zone for Americans too young to drink in U.S. bars.

The Sept. 11 memorial will feature a steel tower nearly 80 feet tall atop a five-sided fountain, meant to signify the Pentagon, and will be surrounded by the sculptures of 25 children.

It will be built outside a hospital in eastern Tijuana near the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It's a way of expressing Mexico's solidarity with the United States and the rest of the world for the attacks," said Jack Winer, a Mexican sculptor and architect who is working on the project.

Officials with the Committee for the New Image of Tijuana plan to present a model of the project at a news conference today in San Diego at the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists' annual convention.

The committee, which has raised most of the $250,000 cost of the Sept. 11 memorial, is working on a series of public art and marketing projects aimed at improving the city's image.

Winer designed the steel column that is the memorial's centerpiece.

The column has two openings, each about 5 feet wide, that will allow light to shine through.

Two large teardrops run down one side of the tower.

"The verticality of the tower is meant to suggest that America is still standing, despite what happened," Winer said.

Winer, who lives in Mexico City and San Diego, is one of six sculptors working on the project, named "Tower of Hope."

The five other artists are creating the sculptures of children that will surround the memorial.

At least two of the others involved in the Tijuana memorial, Jeffrey Laudenslager and Ante Marinovic, are established sculptors who have completed other public projects in Southern California, said Robert L. Pincus, an art critic for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"The spirit of the art is admirable," Pincus said after looking at a schematic drawing of the memorial.

"It's the kind of abstract sculpture that is clearly intended to appeal to a broad spectrum of people."

Construction of the project, which will be located at the Children's Hospital of the Americas, is to begin Monday and is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 11, the first anniversary of the terrorist attack.

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